As of December 2020, only health care workers and those 65 and up have been eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Florida. Some states may soon extend eligibility to immunocompromised patients so many families are wondering what that means for their child who may receive care at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Allison Messina, M.D., chair of the Division of Infectious Disease and medical director of Infection Prevention at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, answers common questions we’re hearing from families about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Are COVID-19 vaccines available for patients at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital?
COVID-19 vaccines are not authorized yet for children under the age of 16 and not available for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital patients at this time. Our health system is actively monitoring and assessing all information on these vaccines and will provide information and updates to our patients and the public as quickly as we can on this page.
When will COVID-19 vaccines be available to kids and will it be safe?
Clinical trials researching the vaccines’ efficacy and safety are underway for children 12 and up; however, experts believe a vaccine for children in those age groups may not be available until this summer, or later. Some states may soon consider providing the vaccine to immunocompromised individuals, but again, depending on the vaccine, only children 16 and up would qualify at this time.
Does getting the vaccine mean you can’t spread COVID-19?
After two weeks following the second dose, the COVID-19 vaccine is about 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 illness. However, less is known about whether a person who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine can still spread disease but not have symptoms. Therefore,it is still recommended that people who have been vaccinated wear a mask and take infection prevention precautions.
What can my family do to protect ourselves from COVID-19 while we wait for the vaccine to become available?
It’s still imperative that we all continue the following practices to prevent COVID-19:
- Wear a mask when outside your home.
- Stay home if you are feeling ill.
- Physically distance from others outside your home when possible, staying 6 feet away.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, drinking or touching your face.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
For more frequently asked questions about COVID-19, view this article from Johns Hopkins Medicine.