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Mercy Children's med chief says kids showing little to no side effects from COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. R.W. Mills, chief medical officer at Mercy Children's Hospital, says the most common side effect kids are seeing after getting the vaccine is arm soreness.

TOLEDO, Ohio — It's been over three weeks since the FDA authorized Pfizer's low-dose COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 years old. And since that time, there's been a steady stream of parents taking their kids to get the shot before the holidays.

That includes right here in Northwest Ohio where the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has already administered thousands of shots the past two weeks.

Dr. R.W. Mills, chief medical officer for Mercy Chlidren's Hospital, says the interest from parents right now is high.

"We're seeing a good uptick on requests for the vaccine and good success on how kids are doing with the vaccine," said Dr. Mills.

The most common side effect for kids is arm soreness at the injection site. But most of the side effects seen in adults - fever, cold, fatigue, headache and muscle pains - are not happening to kids.

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"Really pretty rare especially in this five to 11-year-old age group," said Dr. Mills. "The studies indicated that and we're seeing it as well with our patients here locally."

Dr. Mills says the more kids that can get vaccinated, the quicker schools and communities can return to pre-pandemic norms. 

He says one of the more concerning side effects for parents to watch for, myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, also has been absent in kids.

"Lot of questions about the myocardial inflammation," he added, "but what we found from the young group from 5 to 11 from the study is we didn't have any myocardial inflammation from the vaccine."

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Lucas County Health commissioner Eric Zgodzinkski says we are going to have to learn to live with COVID from now on, which means protecting yourself and your family the best way you can.

"Parents need to feel comfortable about getting their kids vaccinated," said Zgodzinski. "Talk to your doctor and do your research."

But while no one can predict exactly when it'll become as normal as the seasonal flu, we're almost there. Dr. Mills says we are almost at a point where most people are either vaccinated or have natural immunity from getting the virus.

"Once we have enough immunity that the severity of the illness is causing us to be hospitalized is really going to go down significantly," said Dr. Mills.

Still, both officials say the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season is to get vaccinated. 

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