The Whole View, Episode 486: Covid-19 Vaccines for Children

Welcome to episode 486 of The Whole View! This week, Stacy and Dr. Sarah break down the science behind Covid-19 vaccines for children to determine benefits, health effects, and safety.

If you enjoy the show, please review it on iTunes!

The Whole View, Episode 486: Covid-19 Vaccines for Children 

Welcome to episode 486 of the Whole View! (1:20)

This episode is a continuation of Stacy and Dr. Sarah’s Covid-19 shows, so if you haven’t caught up yet, check out:

Between this episode and last week’s, Stacy and Dr. Sarah received their Covid-19 vaccine boosters to update listeners on their experience.

Stacy had minor symptoms, is still at work, and feels fine. However, Dr. Sarah had a little stronger sickness afterward, which she was expecting due to the symptoms she experienced the first time she received the vaccine.

They each made informed decisions for what was best for them and their willingness to take risks.

Stacy has been suffering from long-haulers for almost a year now, so not catching Covid a second time is very important to her.

As a reminder, Stacy and Dr. Sarah are not medical practitioners, so you should always consult your primary doctor on what is best for you and your situation. However, they are here to present you with all the science so that you can make an informed decision.


Is the Booster Okay for Pregnant People?

Listener Question- (11:57)

I am wondering if there is any information around booters with pregnant or breastfeeding Moms? – Sahiba

Yes! As discussed in episode 443, pregnant people are at much higher risk for severe disease, death, and pregnancy complications if they get infected with covid than age-matched non-pregnant controls.

Pregnant women are overall 3 to 3.5X more likely to require ventilation and 70% more likely to die from covid than their age and risk factor-matched controls.

It’s even worse for AMA, pregnant women aged 35–44 years with COVID-19 were nearly four times as likely to require invasive ventilation and twice as likely to die than were nonpregnant women of the same age.

However, absolute risk is still low.

As discussed in detail in episode 455, the vaccines have been shown to be safe for pregnant and lactating women. And, there’s evidence that the antibodies are passed on to the baby, so getting vaccinated is both important for parent and child.

Pregnant people can receive any of the currently FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines as a booster dose.

Check out this article for more info to consider!


Which Booster to Get?

From an effectiveness standpoint:

There’s an excellent case to make for getting an mRNA vaccine if you had an adenovirus vaccine the first time and getting the opposite kind of vaccine if you had an allergic reaction.

If you had an mRNA vaccine the first time, there’s not a big difference in boost between the three, but Moderna is marginally the best, followed by Pfizer, then J&J.

From a side effect standpoint:

  • Pfizer had the lowest frequency of Grade 2 side effects and very few Grade 3 side effects. If you had bad side effects from the first series, consider Pfizer. It’s no guarantee, of course.
  • Moderna looks like the worst side effects ON AVERAGE, followed by J&J, then Pfizer.

For more, see this article!

If you had a rough time with J&J the first time, consider one of the mRNA vaccines for a booster. Both Moderna and Pfizer have the lowest rate of severe side effects when used as a booster for J&J compared to as a booster for themselves or each other.

Also, it’s okay to trade the highest immunity even if it’s the worst side effects. This is Dr. Sarah’s plan.

  • She was initially going to get the booster the week before Thanksgiving but had to delay it because of the awful cold.
  • She has an appointment for Friday to get Moderna, even though she had awful side effects from the 2nd shot. It’s worth it to her for the marginally higher efficacy.

It’s valid either way!  


Data on Pfizer Covid-19 for Children

This question comes from Jaclyn on Patreon:

Hi Dr. Sarah and Stacy,

I love your show. I’ve been listening for about 2 years now and have listened to so many of your shows multiple times, plus many of your archives. And I love Patreon and the inside scoop over here. I’m sure you’re really hoping not to do anymore COVID shows, and I totally appreciate that. However I trust your analysis of the science so much that I was really hoping to hear about the vaccine for kids: 

What is the science saying so far? I’d like to hear the science, as well as your opinion as a mom regarding the benefits and safety please. I look forward to learning more and appreciate your show for the factual, scientific evidence it bring on on things health and nutrition related. Thanks for all the work you both do to bring this show to us each week, I’m a dedicated and avid fan and always look forward to each new release. 



Pfizer Phase 2/3 Clinical Trial: 5-11-Year-Olds

The 10-μg dose level was selected as the optimal dose for the 5 to <12 years of age group based on the favorable reactogenicity profile and robust immunogenicity results from Phase 1 dose level finding evaluation (Study C4591007). (Also tested 20 and 30 μg)

The most common local reaction was injection site pain, and the most common systemic reactions included fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and chills.

No serious adverse events were reported.

No cases of myocarditis/pericarditis were observed during the vaccination period through approximately 3 months of follow-up post-Dose 2 in the 5 to <12 years of age group in Study C4591007.

Vaccine efficacy against laboratory-confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 occurring at least 7 days after Dose 2 in evaluable participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection was 90.7% 

This is with Delta being dominant strains, so this is better efficacy than adults for symptomatic infection.

There were no severe COVID-19 cases, and no cases of MIS-C reported as of the data cutoff date.

For more, check out the source article here! 

If it helps you feel more comfortable, Dr. Sarah got her 12-year old vaccinated. She was 11 when she got her first shot and 12 for her second. Both her kids had very mild side effects, even though she and her husband did not.


Menstruation Irregularities vs. Puberty

Listener Question- (56:17)

Hi to you both. I love the show and am so grateful for the resources you share. I have a question that I’m not sure where to go for answers and thought it might be up your alley- so here goes: I have heard of many women experiencing issues with their period post COVID vaccine. 

I am vaccinated and now that my 7 year old can be I am looking for research on why the vaccine impacted some women’s periods and if it could impact fertility or menstruation for young kids as they hit puberty? Due to quarantines and wanting to protect my kids I do want to get them vaccinated but also am hoping there is some science on this point?

Thank you!! – Katie

We busted the myth that the vaccines can affect fertility in episode 443 and menstrual irregularities in detail in episode 455.

The mechanism is via cortisol. Cortisol (and ACTH) goes up during infection, and this increase is directly related to disease severity.

There is cross-talk between the HPA axis, thyroid, sex hormones, and immune system. Source 

 Dysregulated cortisol causes menstrual irregularities. They can also happen after infection, a normal side effect of the flu. 

Illnesses can sometimes pause ovulation and delay your period, and stress from the flu can lead to changes in your periods or even amenorrhea. 

Studies show this it’s transient, even with covid-19. So if you are a person who can get pregnant but don’t plan on it, this is good to keep in mind. 

This mechanism could temporarily disrupt a cycle, but nothing points to it causing early puberty. For more on Covid-19 and Menstrual cycles, see this article!


Final Thoughts

Stacy and Dr. Sarah share their personal choices and experiences to help listeners make informed choices and not out of pressure or to guilt anyone.

What works for one person isn’t necessarily the best choice for another, so it’s critical you include your primary care doctor in all of your medical decisions.

If you enjoyed this show, we invite you to join Stacy and Dr. Sarah over on Patreon for exclusive behind-the-scenes content about how Stacy and Sarah feel about the topics they discuss.

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Thanks so much for listened and we will see you next week!

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