Statement from Pediatric Cardiology @ JPCH
After careful review of the available evidence and in discussion with our Pediatric Cardiology and Pediatric Infectious Disease colleagues across Western Canada regarding the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine recently approved by Health Canada for children ages 6 months to 5 years old, we have come to the following recommendations that are in alignment with the Health Canada National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations.
We recommend that a complete series with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (pediatric 25 mcg dose) may be offered to children 6 months to 5 years of age who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with a dosing interval of at least 8 weeks between first and second dose.
There are no patients with congenital heart disease who are contraindicated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The only Pediatric Cardiology patients who should further discuss getting the vaccine with our team are patients with a previous history of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) or heart transplantation.
Some parents, families and/or care-givers have already been asking us the following questions:
What about the Pfizer vaccine for this age group?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved by Health Canada for the 6 months to 5 year Pediatric population. They have submitted their application and it remains under review. The study details of this vaccine has not yet been made available for review to us but we will review this once made available.
What is the risk of myocarditis with the COVID-19 vaccine?
In patients who are 12 years old or older who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, there is a rare (1 in 10,000) side effect of myocarditis. However, children are more likely to get sicker with COVID-19 infection, which can also cause myocarditis and a serious multi-organ inflammatory response in children. Luckily the vast majority of the children who have developed myocarditis after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine have had mild cases, have not required hospitalization and have shown complete recovery with little treatment needed. So far the experience with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children 5-11 years old and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 months to 5 years of age in the USA has shown a lower rate of myocarditis secondary to the COVID-19 vaccine than in children 12 years old and older.
When should my child (aged 5 years or older) have their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Health Canada has recently approved children aged 5 years and older to receive their first booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer). Any patients who received their initial vaccinations six months ago or more are eligible. In the upcoming weeks we expect Saskatchewan will be making immunization appointments available for these patients.
What side effects should I worry about after my child has their COVID-19 vaccine?
Mild side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are common and expected for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. These include arm pain, redness at the injection site, swelling at the injection site and fever and they can be managed at home. If children develop any symptoms of myocarditis including chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations, you should seek further medical attention.
Can my child have other vaccines before or after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine?
It is recommended that children getting the COVID-19 vaccine should not get any other routine childhood vaccines for at least 14 days before and 14 days after their COVID-19 vaccine doses. This is a precaution to help determine if any side effects that may arise are due to the COVID-19 vaccine or the other vaccine.
My family has had a COVID-19 infection. When can we get immunized?
For children 6 months to 5 years of age previously infected with COVID-19, NACI suggests an 8 week interval between infection and initiation or completion of a COVID-19 primary series, (even if asymptomatic but testing positive).
If you would like to read more information about the NACI recommendations we recommend the following link:
We will continue to monitor evidence and information as it becomes available about the COVID-19 vaccine and keep you updated. View our previous vaccine & COVID-19 updates HERE.
We are here to support you in the decision making process, so that you can make an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccination for your family. So, if we can help answer any further questions, please feel free to contact us (306) 844-1235.
Your Pediatric Cardiology Team (Drs. Pockett, Pharis, and Bradley)