Health Care News

Communicating About the New Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccines

This summer marked a major milestone in COVID-19 prevention strategies for our youngest pediatric patients. In June, the FDA and CDC approved emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages six months to five years old. Moderna also received EUA approval for its COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 to 11 years old and 12 to 17 years old.

“People who have children in this age group have waited a longtime…Now we have a vaccine for six months and older. It is a time to be hopeful,” said Lisa M. Costello, MD, MPH, FAAP, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University School of Medicine and Immediate Past President, American Academy of Pediatrics, West Virginia Chapter when speaking during a recent NACHC webinar  on these new pediatric vaccines. “We want to do what is best to protect your child. Vaccination is our strongest tool.” Dr. Costello added that COVID-19 is now one of the leading causes of death in children.

Watch our webinar: “Educating Nurses and Pediatric Staff About COVID-19 Vaccines”

With these latest pediatric COVID-19 vaccines now available, Dr. Costello recommends that health care providers at health centers review their policies and procedures for administering the new vaccines, carefully read the EUs for each product, and become very familiar with specific differences between the products such as dosing schedules, need for dilution, appropriate age range for different formularies, cleaning, and storage.  Given the potential for confusion between the different products for different pediatric age groups, Dr. Costello advises health centers display product wall charts with product and label information and dosing schedules in areas where immunization staff can read and reference them. To learn more about each of the new pediatric vaccine products and key clinical considerations for administration, click on these short videos  that feature Dr. Costello’s overview of each one.

Strategies for Effectively Communicating with Parents About COVID-19 Vaccines for their Children

Health center staff care for patients and parents with a range of vaccine confidence, particularly the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Costello shared several approaches she finds very helpful in building vaccine confidence, and others she recommends staff to avoid.

Pediatric COVID-19 Resources for Health Care Providers

For health center care teams who want to provide educational resources on the new pediatric vaccines for staff as well as patients, Dr. Costello recommends the following:

HHS We Can Do This  is a national initiative which includes a new toolkit for pediatricians and other health care providers to have access to parent education materials on all the pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC Resources to Promote COVID-19 Vaccines for Children & Teens offers a suite of digital and downloadable resources to help promote COVID-19 vaccination for children and teens.

American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Campaign Toolkit contains articles, videos and social media messages to help families understand the science behind the vaccine and make informed decisions about protecting their children with the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, NACHC’s COVID-19 resources web page provides a communication toolkit, webinar recordings that address misinformation, COVID-19 vaccine developments, guidance on talking to parents etc.