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COVID-19 Vaccine Series Part III: Who Should Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Which members of your family should get a COVID-19 vaccine?
5 min read
January 27, 2021
Dr. Jill Lundstrom
Board-Certified Pediatrician
Dr. Jill earned her MD at the University of Massachusetts. She believes that all children deserve access to quality healthcare to learn and thrive.

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Our care team has collected many of the questions families have asked over the last few weeks. We will be sharing weekly blog posts and hosting Ask a Doctor live chats to answer these questions.

This week we’re sharing important information about which members of your family should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Be sure to check back next week to read part four of our COVID-19 Vaccine Series: What can I expect when I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

1. Question: How old do children need to be to get the vaccine?

Answer: The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people that are 16 and older. Both Moderna and Pfizer are doing trials now for giving the vaccine for kids 12 and older. It is currently estimated that a pediatric vaccine will be approved by late 2021.

2. Question: If someone has already had COVID, do they need to get the vaccine?

This is a great question! Even if a member of your family has already been sick with COVID-19, they should get the vaccine.

We still don’t know if you have protection from the virus after recovering from COVID-19, and we don’t know how long this protection may last. However, if you have had COVID-19 recently, you should not get the vaccine until about 90 days from diagnosis.

If you have been recently exposed to someone who had COVID-19, you should wait until your quarantine period is over before getting the vaccine. This will help protect the people giving the vaccines.

3. Question: Can people with allergies get the vaccine?

Answer: So far, out of tens of thousands of people worldwide who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, three people reported severe allergic reactions. These cases are being evaluated to determine exactly what the reactions were and what (if any) allergies these people have had. Before getting the vaccine, you should have a conversation regarding your allergies with your doctor.

The CDC currently recommends that every person stays to get monitored for 15 minutes after getting vaccinated. If you have had a serious allergy from a vaccine or severe anaphylaxis, the CDC recommends you stay for 30 minutes after your vaccine.

4. Question: Does the vaccine work for older people?

Answer: The clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine have shown to be just as effective for elderly people as it is for any other age group getting the vaccine.

5. Question: I am immunosuppressed and/or have a high-risk medical problem: is it safe for me to get the COVID vaccine?

Answer: YES!
The CDC is ABSOLUTELY recommending that people who are immunosuppressed or have high-risk medical problems get vaccinated. Please remember, this is not a live vaccine. As a result, the vaccine is far less risky than getting infected with COVID-19. If you are concerned about getting the vaccine, you should speak to your doctor.

6. Question:  I have an autoimmune disorder; will I have a flare when I get the vaccine?

Answer: People with autoimmune diseases are not expected to have “flares” after getting the vaccine. Flares were not seen in any of the data reviewed from the Pfizer vaccine; or in active COVID-19 infections.

7. Question: Can pregnant or nursing women get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Answer: Currently, we have limited information about how the vaccine may affect this group. The decision for a pregnant or nursing woman to get the vaccine is an individual decision based on their exposure risk and a discussion with their doctor.

After you get the vaccine, you will need to continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands. If you have questions about getting the vaccine for your family, ask your doctor.

Be sure to join our weekly online Ask a Doctor chat to hear more about the COVID-19 vaccine, and read the next blog in our series: What can I expect when I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The information in this blog is considered true and correct at the date of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information.

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Parent Story
A father was concerned when his son was showing COVID-19 symptoms. His school uses Hazel, so he was able to contact a Hazel doctor from home.

The Hazel provider recommended he get a COVID-19 test and shared resources to help find a testing center in their area. The father was eager to help his son feel better and appreciated being able to quickly get answers and advice.
Nurse Story
A student came into the nurse's office with a sprained ankle. After icing her foot, she still was in pain, so the nurse called Hazel. Thankfully, her family had provided consent for over-the-counter pain relief because she was able to take some medicine and return to class feeling better.

After the visit, the Hazel provider reached out to the school nurse to check on the student’s injury. The nurse shared that the student’s ankle was improving, and she appreciated the follow-up.
Parent Story
A mother noticed her son was getting low on his asthma medication. She tried to schedule a visit with his doctor to refill his prescription, but no appointments were available. She didn’t want her son to run out of medicine, so she reached out to Hazel.

The provider was able to send the refill to a local pharmacy within one day. The mother was happy that her son would have the medicine he needed. She was also amazed at how easy and fast the entire process was.
Student Story
A student was coughing and sneezing a lot, but her family wasn’t sure if she was sick or had allergies. Thankfully, her school used Hazel, and they could get an answer.

After talking with the school nurse and the Hazel provider about her symptoms and medical history, the student was happy to find out it was likely allergies. She got some medicine and returned to class feeling better.
Student Story
During the pandemic, a high school student was having a hard time coping. She was sad about COVID-19 impacting her senior year, and she was worried about the state of the world. The student was also struggling with some personal conflicts, and she felt she didn't have the right support at home. After discussing her feelings, a Hazel doctor connected her with resources that she described as “life-changing.” She was very grateful and shared that she didn't know where to go for help before Hazel.
Parent Story
Shortly after COVID-19 began, a student began to develop tics. Her parents took her to a neurologist, but they wanted to get her into counseling as well. The student’s mother was having a hard time finding answers to her questions and didn’t know where to start the process, so she turned to Hazel.

The Hazel doctor listened as the mother shared her concerns and frustrations. Hazel reassured her that they would find the right services for her child. After the initial visit, the Hazel doctor partnered with the school counselor and the student’s mother to identify resources and counseling services that are a good fit.
Student Story
A student came into the nurse’s office because his vision went blurry. The Hazel doctor looked at his eyes, but he did not see any injury. As he asked him questions about his symptoms, he started to sense that he was down about something. After a few minutes, the student shared that he was really sad because his mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. He explained that he feels worried, and it’s hard for him to focus.

Hazel called home, and the student’s mother confirmed her diagnosis. They discussed how to help manage the child’s stress, and Hazel offered to connect the child with counseling resources through the school. The mother was very grateful for the guidance and was eager to get her child help during a stressful time.
Counselor Story
Hazel Health has been integral this year in getting our students the mental health services needed to help them live healthy lives.  The staff has been attentive, prompt, and resourceful. There is an evident sense of caring for the work they do and the students they serve. It has been a pleasure partnering with Hazel Health in providing mental wellness for our Garland ISD families.