The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is deeply concerned by the decision to not pre-order COVID-19 vaccines or to offer COVID-19 vaccines at Florida health departments for children 6 months to 5 years of age. These actions are a clear divergence from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, hinders access to evidence-based preventative care, and places children at risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death. In addition, erroneous claims that vaccination risks for these children outweighs the benefits propagates misinformation.
NAPNAP strongly believes that authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in reducing transmission and severity of COVID-19 disease. NAPNAP urges all parents and caregivers to have their eligible children 6 months of age and older vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect themselves and their family and friends who are not eligible for vaccination or are at high risk for severe disease. According to American Academy of Pediatrics data as of June 9, 2022, children made up 13.8% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases with 87,644 cases reported in the last week.1 To date, 13.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 and approximately 1,055 have died.1 Children with and without underlying health conditions have contracted and will continue to contract COVID-19. Those children who are infected with COVID-19 can suffer long-haul COVID symptoms and/or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a severe life-threatening condition.
“We support the timely and complete immunization of all infants, children, adolescents and adults to maximize the health and well-being of all people,” said NAPNAP President Andrea Kline-Tilford, PhD, CPNP-AC/PC, FAAN. “Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccination is essential for all eligible children, so we encourage parents and caregivers to consult with their pediatric health care providers as trusted sources for credible, evidence-based information.”
NAPNAP endorses CDC guidance that the known risks of COVID-19 disease and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination. Dispelling misinformation with reliable sources of information and using clear and understandable language for families is critical. When educating families, pediatric health care providers should be clear that:
- Vaccines are safe and effective in reducing transmission and severity of COVID-19.
- Vaccination should be made widely available and administered to stop the spread of the virus for eligible people ages 6 months and older.
- Vaccines are free to all eligible individuals, regardless of insurance coverage, at all points of vaccine distribution.
- COVID-19 vaccines may be safely co-administered with other vaccines (e.g., flu, other).
- Ongoing safe participation in social and developmentally appropriate activities with few restrictions improves children’s and adolescents’ mental health.
- Parents/caregivers are encouraged to enroll children in the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker program for ongoing safety monitoring.
June, 21, 2022