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AAIP COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Women and Children

Promoting Vaccines for Children and Pregnant Women

Both children – 5 to 11 – and teens – 12 to 17 – are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and AAIP recommends mothers and parents immediately schedule vaccinations to protect American Indian and Native Alaska children and their communities.

In the words of Dr. Mary Owen, TlingitAAIP president and executive director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health at the University of Minnesota – “…get it done now. It’s safe.”

AAIP also supports vaccinations for pregnant women.

Increasing vaccination among children, teens and pregnant women is another way to ensure our communities thrive.

Why Vaccinate

When eligible members of the American Indian and Alaska Native communities get vaccinated – including children and pregnant women – we have the very best chance to protect our families, our elders and our culture.

Just like adults, children and teens can get very sick from COVID-19 and can spread the virus to others, including younger siblings who aren’t eligible to receive the vaccine. Vaccination can assist in keeping children and teens in school and allow them to participate in activities they enjoy. Most importantly, fully vaccinated children and teens are better protected from serious illness.

Vaccination is also important for pregnant women. Early data suggests receiving a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine during pregnancy reduces infection risk, and vaccination during pregnancy builds antibodies that might protect the baby. Pregnant women are more likely to become seriously ill from the COVID-19 virus when compared to people who aren’t pregnant. When compared to pregnant women who didn’t have COVID-19, those who’ve had the virus during their pregnancy are more likely to deliver their baby prematurely, experience stillbirth and may be more likely to develop other complications.

Vaccination Myths

  • Myths for Children & Teens

  • Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine isn’t safe for my child or teen.
    Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine was only authorized and recommended after rigorous review and thorough safety testing in thousands of children. Clinical trials resulted in mild side effects similar to those in other recommended childhood vaccines. A sore arm was the most common side effect.

    Myth: My child likely won’t get very sick from the COVID-19 virus so it’s best not to get vaccinated.
    Fact: Getting the vaccine can protect your child from getting the virus and protect your child from serious symptoms and hospitalization. Serious illness is a risk for children. Though most cases aren’t severe, one hundred deaths and 8300 hospitalizations have occurred among children ages 5 to 11 as of October 2021. Post-COVID symptoms can also last several weeks for some children and the virus can cause serious complications.

    Myth: COVID-19 vaccines can cause future fertility or reproductive issues for my child.
    Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccine, vaccine ingredients or antibodies developed after vaccination cause female or male infertility. There is also no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects puberty.

  • Myths for Pregnant Women

  • Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine increases my chance of pregnancy complications or miscarriage.
    Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine results in complications or miscarriage.

    Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine increases the chance of my baby developing birth defects.
    Fact: It’s not expected that the COVID-19 vaccine increases the chance a baby develops birth defects.

    Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine could cause long-term learning or behavior problems for my baby.
    Fact: It’s not expected that the COVID-19 vaccine causes long-term problems for a baby, based on what is known about this and other vaccines.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine isn’t safe for my child or teen.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine was only authorized and recommended after rigorous review and thorough safety testing in thousands of children. Clinical trials resulted in mild side effects similar to those in other recommended childhood vaccines. A sore arm was the most common side effect.

Myth: My child likely won’t get very sick from the COVID-19 virus so it’s best not to get vaccinated.
Fact: Getting the vaccine can protect your child from getting the virus and protect your child from serious symptoms and hospitalization. Serious illness is a risk for children. Though most cases aren’t severe, one hundred deaths and 8300 hospitalizations have occurred among children ages 5 to 11 as of October 2021. Post-COVID symptoms can also last several weeks for some children and the virus can cause serious complications.

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines can cause future fertility or reproductive issues for my child.
Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccine, vaccine ingredients or antibodies developed after vaccination cause female or male infertility. There is also no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects puberty.

Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine increases my chance of pregnancy complications or miscarriage.
Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine results in complications or miscarriage.

Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine increases the chance of my baby developing birth defects.
Fact: It’s not expected that the COVID-19 vaccine increases the chance a baby develops birth defects.

Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine could cause long-term learning or behavior problems for my baby.
Fact: It’s not expected that the COVID-19 vaccine causes long-term problems for a baby, based on what is known about this and other vaccines.

For both children, teens and pregnant women, remember, vaccines are:

Safe – Dr. Mary Owen calls vaccine research for children “extremely safe”. Significant research occurred before the CDC recommended vaccination for children and “no serious safety concerns” were identified. CDC data shows vaccines are also safe for pregnant women.

Effective – Even if a child or teen gets sick, vaccination can help keep them from serious illness. For pregnant women, the CDC reports COVID-19 vaccines can prevent “serious illness, death and pregnancy complications.”

Available – Contact your local Indian Health Service Clinic, pharmacy, your doctor or your child’s pediatrician to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine.

Statistics for Children & Teens:

  • There are approximately 28 million children ages 5 to 11 in the United States. About 2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in this age group.
  • 17% of children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated as of January 11, 2022.
  • 54% of teens ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated as of January 11, 2022.
  • As of mid-October 2021, children ages 5 to 11 have experienced more than 8300 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 100 deaths from the COVID-19 virus.
  • COVID-19 ranks as one of the top 10 causes of death for children ages 5 through 11 years.

Statistics for Pregnant Women:

  • About 1 to 3 per 1,000 pregnant women with COVID-19 will develop severe disease. (July 30, 2021)
  • Compared with those who aren’t pregnant, pregnant women infected by the COVID-19 virus are…(July 30, 2021)
      • Three times more likely to need ICU care
      • Two to three times more likely to need advanced life support and a breathing tube
      • Have a small increased risk of dying due to COVID-19
  • As of November 27, 2021, 35% of pregnant women were fully vaccinated compared to 62.9% of the total population.

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