RICHMOND, Va. -- For months now, it's been said that the coronavirus vaccine can't be given within two weeks of a child receiving another regular vaccine, like Tdap or HPV -- but now that recommendation is changing.
The CDC recently announced that the 14-day window between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines is no longer necessary.
Health officials initially believed getting another vaccine too close to the COVID-19 shot would affect the immune response to the vaccine, but they've now learned that’s not the case.
"I think that will make vaccination season from a pediatric pediatricians perspective much easier," said Dr. Eric Freeman of Old Dominion Pediatrics in North Chesterfield.
While school districts are not requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students returning to school this fall, starting July 1, students entering seventh grade must receive their meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
For the past 30 days, Freeman said he’s seen an increase in parents wanting their children to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Right now, the only shot available to children age 12 and older is the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna has filed for emergency use to use their vaccine for this age group as well.
"We're just waiting and hoping that the CDC will approve Moderna for more widespread use," Freeman explained. "Right now, it will be a challenge in a lot of primary care practices to carry the Pfizer vaccine because it requires ultra cold storage, which means it needs a very, very, very cold temperature and some pediatric and primary care practices may not have that capacity."
As parents consider whether or not to get their child vaccinated, Freeman said the rising case numbers of the COVID-19 Delta variant that first emerged in India should be on parents’ minds.
"I think the Delta variant is going to be something that people are going to need to be made aware of, particularly as we get close to school returning," Freeman explained. "And I also think it's very, very, very important to note that we feel that 20 to 25% of new onset COVID-19 cases are in children. I think those numbers are going to continue to climb unless we continue to actively vaccinate our adolescent and pediatric population."
Both Pfizer and Moderna are currently conducting vaccine trials in children as young as six months old, and Freeman estimates some children younger than age 12 will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine as early as this fall.