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2 Your Well-Being: Answering your questions about kids and the COVID-19 vaccine

In today's 2 Your Well-Being, Cone Health's Dr. Michael Cinoman answers some of the top questions surrounding children and the COVID-19 vaccine.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The FDA will meet Tuesday to discuss Pfizer's vaccine for children 5-11. This meeting comes just in time for Halloween, a fun time for many children.

What should parents know about the vaccine? What safety measures are recommended for Halloween this year? We spoke to Dr. Michael Cinoman, Executive Medical Director of Pediatric Services at Cone Health, to get answers on all things kids and COVID-19.

What to know about Pfizer's vaccine for kids 5-11

The FDA is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday. If they approve the vaccine, the CDC will meet to discuss the shots Nov. 2 - 3. Dr. Cinoman said it's possible that children 5-11 could get vaccinated as early as tomorrow.

"We should be ready to go pretty soon after the vaccine is approved to be available," Dr. Cinoman said.

Dr. Cinoman said the vaccine is "extraordinarily safe." He said most side effects are mild. He said some parents are concerned about their child developing myocarditis, which is heart inflammation. Dr. Cinoman said that it can happen, but it's rare.

"The risk of getting myocarditis, or inflammation of your heart muscle is significantly greater from catching COVID-19 than it is from getting the vaccine," Dr. Cinoman said.

He said the odds of getting myocarditis are less than one-in-1,000. 

Pfizer's vaccine is about a third of the dose given to adults. Dr. Cinoman said it's still effective. He said vaccine developers didn't want to give too high of dosage to kids. When they tested the smaller dose, it still produced a strong immune response.

How to have a safe Halloween

Dr. Cinoman says it's safe for kids to go trick-or-treating this year. However, there's some safety tips he says you should consider.

If you plan to have an outdoor party, consider having it outdoors. Outdoor events reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Dr. Cinoman said masks are the best way for kids at parties to protect themselves while waiting for the vaccine.

He also said people giving out candy should consider having a basket for trick-or-treaters rather than greet them at the door. It will prevent clusters of kids needing to be face-to-face with someone. 

Dr. Cinoman said kids should not wear a secondary mask if they wear a face covering. He said masks over the eyes could make it hard to see.

He said parents should not worry about kids getting COVID-19 from their Halloween candy. Dr. Cinoman said most COVID transmission happens through aerosols.

"You could be very cautious and sanitize your child's hands after they've reached into a communal bucket and gotten candy, but still, that's relatively low-risk," Dr. Cinoman said.