CHICAGO — With COVID-19 continuing to infect people in communities across the U.S. and being among the leading causes of death among children the past two years, three leading physician organizations dedicated to the health of our nation today issued an open letter encouraging all parents and caregivers to talk with their physician about getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
The full text of the open letter from the American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is included below:
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
With COVID-19 continuing to infect people in communities across the United States, we are fortunate to now have the power to extend the life-saving protection of a vaccine to everyone ages 6 months and older. If you and/or your child(ren) have not yet been immunized against COVID-19, now is a good time to talk with your physician about the vaccine. This will ensure your family is protected before this fall when there may be another surge as schools resume and people spend more time indoors.
COVID-19 is unpredictable, and we do not know which children will suffer severe, long-term or debilitating symptoms. Children can become severely ill from COVID-19, be hospitalized, and even die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 was among the leading causes of death among children the past two years. Even otherwise healthy children with no underlying medical conditions can experience both short- and long-term health complications from COVID-19 that can affect their mental and physical health and quality of life.
Thankfully, scientists have developed effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines that prevent the most severe illness. These vaccines have been given to millions of adults, adolescents and children in the U.S. and around the world and have proven to be remarkably effective at preventing virus-related hospitalization and death.
The decision by the CDC to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children between 6 months and 5 years of age followed a rigorous and transparent review process, just as it did with each COVID-19 vaccine formulation authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. You can feel confident that no shortcuts were taken to develop and review these vaccines.
If you have questions about the vaccines, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) encourage you to talk with a physician who knows you and your child. You can also find good information on websites like getvaccineanswers.org, HealthyChildren.org and familydoctor.org/vaccines.
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- Why parents should get kids under 5 vaccinated against COVID-19
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- COVID Vaccines for Younger Children: What Parents Need to Know
Caregivers are also encouraged to register children for v-safe to share how their child is feeling after vaccination. V-safe uses confidential text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins following COVID-19 vaccination.
The long-awaited authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for young children is an important milestone and comes as a relief for millions of families. Science has given us the tools to defeat this virus. Now it’s up to you. To find COVID-19 vaccines for children, caregivers can talk with their health care professional, local health department or clinic, or visit vaccines.gov.
Yours in good health,
American Medical Association
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Academy of Family Physicians
ph: (312) 464-4443
About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.