January 21, 2022
Experts Answer YOUR Questions
on COVID-19 Vaccines
Topic: Children and COVID-19 Vaccines
Nathan Boonstra, MD, UnityPoint Health, Blank Children’s Pediatrics Answers Your Vaccine Questions

Question: I’m not opposed to vaccines. My children received their childhood vaccinations, but those vaccines had withstood the test of time. I just don’t think there has been enough testing yet to make me feel comfortable.
This is understandable, as this is a new vaccine, but the data on the Pfizer vaccine in kids looks great. Not only did the clinical trials on thousands of kids and teens show that it was very effective and had no significant safety concerns, the experience of millions of teens getting the vaccine has shown that the risk of the vaccine is extremely small, especially compared to the risk of COVID.
You might have heard of the risk of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. It’s a real risk for about one in seven thousand young males, mostly in the 16-19 year old range. That is understandably eyebrow-raising, but it’s important to understand several things. First, that risk peaks in that age group and appears to decrease the younger you get. In addition, kids 11 and younger get a smaller dose of the vaccine, which is likely to make that risk even lower. And no cases of myocarditis were seen in the clinical trials in those ages.
Further, the risk of myocarditis from COVID itself is much greater! Young adult athletes had symptomatic myocarditis after COVID in about 1 in 300 cases. And the risk of myocarditis in kids after COVID is many times greater than the risk from the vaccine. With the new COVID variants being so contagious, it’s nearly a guarantee that everyone unvaccinated is going to get COVID sometime soon, and undergo that greater risk. Here’s a great review of this in National Geographic.
And here is an article I wrote for the Des Moines Register that lays out the reasons pediatricians believe that immunizing children is so important.
Question: How do I know if the vaccine is safe for my child who has asthma?
One vaccine that we know can be concerning for patients with asthma is the live, attenuated intranasal flu vaccine (FluMist). In rare cases, it could irritate the airway and cause an asthma exacerbation, though it is generally considered safe for those with mild asthma. COVID-19 vaccines don’t have this risk, as they are not live vaccines and not inhaled. In fact, asthma is a good reason to be more concerned about catching COVID, which can be dangerous for the lungs! Talk to your child’s doctor about it, but most likely they will want your child’s lungs protected with the COVID vaccine. 
Experts will answer YOUR vaccine questions in weekly e-newsletters.
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Register Now for this "live" virtual program
presented by Dr. Nathan Boonstra

"How to Talk about Vaccines and Keep Your Friends"
February 22, 2022 from 5 - 6 p.m.
To register for the program, please click here.

Program Description:
Iowa Immunizes coalition chair and Blank Hospital pediatrician Dr. Nathan Boonstra will be presenting on how to talk to your friends (peers/colleagues/family) about vaccines without losing them! Nathan has been a vaccine advocate for many years and has lots of lessons learned to share with us on how to deal with questions about vaccines effectively.

Dr. Nathan Boonstra is a General Pediatrician at Blank Children’s Pediatric Clinic in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Boonstra attended medical school at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and completed his pediatric training at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Dr. Boonstra is involved with projects to improve vaccination rates around the state of Iowa as well as on a national level, and has a special interest in using social media to dispel myths surrounding pediatric vaccinations. In 2014, he received the Childhood Immunization Champion Award for the state of Iowa from the CDC, and in 2015 was recognized by the Iowa Department of Public Health with an Immunization Champion Award of Excellence. Dr. Boonstra chairs the state immunization coalition Iowa Immunizes, as well as the immunization committee of the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Boonstra lives in Urbandale, Iowa with his wife and two boys, and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog

This program is made possible through
a partnership of Iowa CareGivers and Iowa Immunizes