Ask an expert: Your vaccine questions

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Thank you to our campaign sponsors at We Can Do This for supporting Scottsdale Moms and the safety of our families. This content was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To find COVID vaccines near you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about COVID vaccines.

Scottsdale Moms owner Kate Eschbach spoke with Dr. Marcos A Mestre to ask him all the questions that our community of moms submitted about COVID vaccines. Thank you to Dr. Mestre for answering our readers’ questions. Dr. Mestre is Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida. Link to Dr. Mestre’s full bio is here.

We know that many parents still have questions about COVID vaccines for their children. We polled our audience over the last few weeks and found that many questions overlap among the families. Some of the most pertinent questions are transcribed in this article but you can watch the full interview video below.

Does my child need a booster shot? Are kids eligible?

Dr. Marc Mestre:

That’s a great question, the kind of question that we see very commonly come up. So for those individuals that are 12 and over, adolescents, they are eligible for a booster typically at least five months after receiving their second vaccine. Should I get a booster if I am eligible? And for that question, I always recommend that the parent have a discussion with their physician, especially if they’ve had COVID already. So if you’ve had COVID, especially after having the vaccine, typically we recommend holding off on a booster until a little bit later. But again, I will always recommend to have that conversation with your pediatrician. And those individuals that are at a higher risk, such as individuals with any chronic illnesses, obesity, or immune deficiencies, we definitely do recommend that they receive a booster.

We have heard a number of people say that they think the vaccine will affect girls’ fertility as a reason not to get their daughters vaccinated. Is there any truth to this?

Dr. Marc Mestre:

We’re not seeing any evidence of that. Initially, there was some concerns when the initial studies came out, especially as it relates to the the Pfizer vaccines and some theoretical concerns about the spike protein, (but) there is no evidence that suggests that. And that’s now been looked at in certain studies of females that have received the vaccines and they are not having any sort of long-term effects, or short-term effects on their ability to get pregnant. There was also some concerns as it relates to the periods of young adolescent females receiving the vaccines. And there are cases where, like any stress on the body, and a vaccine could be a stress on the body, where it may throw off the menses for a short period of time, but then it returned to normal thereafter. These studies were supported by the NIH and have shown that there is no long-term effect on menses as well. So, no effects on pregnancy or ability to become pregnant in the future and no effect on the menstrual cycle.

Knowing that there’s generally an uptick in cases at the start of the school year, should parents consider timing vaccines or boosters to be done in late summer to ensure they have the best protection or that their protection is not waning at the start of school?

Dr. Marc Mestre:

That’s a great question and always depends on what’s going on within your particular area. As we know, and as we’ve seen across the country, certain areas are higher pockets of infection. And in those areas, obviously, you’d hate to wait to receive a booster dose if you can. But if there is a timeframe, when you can, you do want to get it right before there is a certain wave. So if you see a wave coming across the country, it would be wise to definitely receive the booster. But again, that being said, always have that discussion with your physician in terms of whether you can “wait or not.” For those individuals that are at higher risk of any sort of complications, we definitely recommend not waiting, and making sure that they received the booster dose when they can.

This video is recorded in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Catch the full interview here:

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