The latest on COVID-19 vaccines and children

Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, discusses vaccinating children, the Delta variant and more.
3:01 | 06/13/21

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Transcript for The latest on COVID-19 vaccines and children
joining us now is Dr. Paul offit, the director of the children's hospital of Philadelphia. Thanks for being with us. You were part of that fda advisory committee meeting last wek that was looking into the safety of giving kids under 12 a covid-19 vaccine. Ultimately it was decided it's not worth rushing those studies, but you have a warning this morning. There is a very rare, but very real side effect of the vaccines, which is called myocarditis. It's just inflammation of the heart muscle. The good news is it's rare. It's short-lived. It doesn't appear to have any sort of permanent effects, and I think for parents and for young people trying to decide whether to get this vaccine, the best way to think of it is this way. If you have a stadium of 100,000 people, all of whom were say, boys or men between 16 and 35 years of age and you vaccinated all of them with an mrna vaccine, two would have this short-lived temporary inflammation of the heart muscle. If you didn't vaccinate any of them, about 1,300 would get infection itself does cause inflammation of heart muscle, as does this inflammatory disease. Vaccination is the safer choice here. The choice not to get a vaccination is not a better choice, but it's a more serious risk. It's important to point out there are risks on both sides of these decisions. We're two weeks out from those memorial day celebrations which were sort of a test on community spread. What, if anything, are we learning as a result now that we're two weeks away? I think we're learning what we already know is that the sars virus is a winter virus. When you saw an increase in cases sort of following Thanksgiving or following Christmas, it's because it's a winter virus. We are mostly outside through the summer. I think what's going to happen is because we aren't quite there yet in terms of population immunity, is when the winter comes you're going to see a surge which is why it's really important to have a vaccine for children before the winter hits. The delta variant a lot of people have been talking about that. It's doubled here in the U.S., and cases are still relatively low, but the question is out there. How concerned should we be? Very concerned. That's what this virus does. It keeps mutating and becoming more contagious. As it gets more contagious you need a high percentage of the population to be vaccinated to stop the spread. Which is why it's so important now to get ourselves up to the highest level possible. I think we still need to vaccinate another 80 million to 100 million people to get to the levels of immunity where we feel comfortable to be stopping the circulation of the virus. Many haven't given a single dose of vaccine. That's a lot of vaccines to be putting into arms. Dr. Offit, thanks for being with us this morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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