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Yvonne Maldonado on the COVID-19 vaccine for kids

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massively disruptive force in the lives of American children. More than 6.5 million have tested positive for infection since March 2020, more than 600 have died, and the rest have absorbed a range of effects from canceled classes to missed milestones, family financial stress and more. But the outlook changed last week as 5- to 11-year-olds began to receive first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. What’s at stake, and what are the implications for parents and guardians as younger children join the ranks of the vaccinated?

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Video by Farrin Abbott

Pediatric infectious disease expert Yvonne Maldonado, MD, who helped conduct clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children at Stanford School of Medicine, offers this Tiny Lecture, filmed in late September.

“COVID has really affected all of us in just about every way we can imagine, and this is especially true when it comes to our children,” says Maldonado. “There may be mental health issues from having been isolated so long. There’s the impact on families – people losing jobs or having lower economic security. A lot of these things have impacted our children’s mental health, and their development will be a little bit different. But children are much more resilient than adults, and they do bounce back quickly. We just need to give them time, tools and patience as they get back to where they were. They will get back to a normal life once we get control of this pandemic.”

Maldonado, the Taube Professor of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, is a professor of pediatrics and of epidemiology and population health, and the senior associate dean of faculty development and diversity in the School of Medicine.

More information on the COVID-19 vaccine for kids can be found in this Stanford Medicine Q&A with Maldonado and fellow pediatrician Grace Kim, MD.