Kern County doctors explain importance of COVID booster for children

KERO 23 ABC News
KERO 23 ABC News

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states 75% of all Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose but there's still concern over vaccinations including when and if children should receive the booster shot.

The World Health Organization recently stated there is no evidence that COVID boosters are needed for healthy children and young adults but there are other factors to consider when deciding if your child should get the COVID-19 booster.

COVID-19 is one of the leading causes of death in America and that is why local doctors are urging all parents to get their children vaccinated.

While there's no evidence that boosters are needed for healthy children it does help stop transmission to others who have underlying illnesses.

Dr. Anuradha Rao with Omni Family Health asked, “They can transmit the disease to their grandparents, their parents, their relatives who are susceptible. And with all the school absences and lack of playdates and lack of extracurricular activity and sports. Wouldn't it be great to have immunity against the disease?"

But what is considered a healthy child?

“Kids who don't have underlying illnesses like asthma or diabetes or immunological problems where their immune system is suppressed like cancer,” explained Dr. Rao.

But Dr. Rao says that doesn't mean healthy children aren't susceptible to the virus.

“There can be perfectly healthy children who get a case of COVID. Most of them thank God do well but there's also several who have died. Right now COVID is in the top ten list of causes of death of children in the United States.”

When You Should Consider the Booster Shot

There are guidelines for when you should consider taking the booster shot. According to the CDC, kids who are between the ages of 12 and 17 should get their booster shot five months after they’ve received their doses of the vaccine and can be administered with other vaccines.

“It's totally fine to do the regular shots along with the COVID shot, as well as the flu vaccine along with the COVID vaccine," said Dr. Rao. "We’ve done it in this clinic in our office and I ask every child when they come back for their booster, 'how did you do after the vaccine?' and so far, they’ve been doing great.”

Dr. Rao told 23ABC parents who are concerned about the booster shot should understand it's a normal part of the vaccination process.

“When I look at it as a parent, as a pediatrician, I really look at it as life protecting to have the COVID vaccine. And obviously, like any other vaccine, it makes sense to have boosters. We do that for all our other vaccines."

Booster shot effectiveness for children

Dr. Ricardo Flores of Dignity Health Memorial Hospital added that the COVID-19 vaccine is a strong line of protective immunizations for both children and adults. He told 23ABC that parents should not hesitate when it comes to whether or not their child should get boosted.

“The infection that we see running around commonly is COVID. But we see it with influenza. We see it with all the other things with which we can protect ourselves with. Families who feel that their children don't need it because they are healthy, then these are the children who are going to run the risk of developing more disease from simple things."

Whether or not your child has underlying illnesses, health advisors encourage all children to get boosted.

23ABC In-Depth: How is California Doing with Vaccinations?

And when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, how is California doing? 23ABC took an in-depth look at a report from Reuters and has a breakdown of where California stands.

According to the report, as of January 16th 85.6-percent of California has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 67.8-percent of the state is fully vaccinated

California ranks 11th in vaccinations out of all 50 states and Puerto Rico. New Hampshire is number one. And the Golden State has administered over 69 million vaccine doses since vaccines were made available.

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