Robin Schoenthaler, MD
5 min readJun 30, 2022

Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Vaccinating the Littles

Why Vaccines for Ages 0–5 Were Unanimously Approved

Photo by Rendy Novantino on Unsplash

So what about the kids?

Little kid vaccines (under 5) got approved last week, and all of my doctor friends with wee ones are haunting the telephone lines and internet trying to find appointments for their kids as quickly as possible.

As was true with the adult and older kid vaccines, the trials and the presentations last week to the FDA/CDC were designed to answer the same old same old questions:

a) Do we need the vaccine?

b) Are the vaccines safe in the short- and long-term?

c) Do they prevent infection and/or serious disease?

Question one: Do little kids need to be vaccinated?

You may have noticed it took a really long time to get the data from the kid clinical trials. That’s because vaccine drug companies preferentially ran trials on adults and then younger and younger kids, which made sense since this is without question a more serious disease for older people.

Still, Covid has affected, hurt, and killed a real number of kids: 45,000 kids have ended up in hospitals, a third of those in ICUs, over 400 kids have died, almost 9,000 kids have gotten MIS-C, and some fraction are ending up with long Covid.

So it’s not nothing.

So the vaccine companies, the FDA and the CDC all agree it’s a big enough problem to warrant getting vaccinated.

It’s worth noting the FDA/CDC doesn’t approve vaccines for every little bug ever known — they have criteria about how much havoc and mortality an infection needs to cause, and Covid more than meets that criteria.

So question one — do kids need it? — has been suitably answered.

Question two: Are they safe?

The answer in the short-term is definitely yes. There’s the Day One and Two side effects of activating the kids’ immune systems (fever, soreness, miseries to varying degrees), but that’s not a safety issue, it’s a reaction issue. Other than fraying your last nerve as a parent and having a period of mild to moderate suffering for the kid, these expected…

Robin Schoenthaler, MD

Covid-Translator. Cancer doc: ~Three decades at MGH. Writer and storyteller: Moth Grand Slam Champion. Mom., @robinshome,