Kansas City Pediatric Doctor Answers Moms’ COVID Vaccine Questions

This interview was conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vaccine.

You had questions about the COVID -19 vaccine, and Kansas City Mom Collective got the answers!

We were grateful for the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Gabriel Schifman of Overland Park Regional Medical Center to get the latest information and the answers to your questions. Dr. Schifman is a board-certified physician specializing in pediatric emergency medicine.

Should unvaccinated children remain masked up, even among vaccinated company?

Dr. Schifman: It’s a good question. It really depends where you are in the country; each community is different. The quick answer and safe answer is yes. The best way to prevent spread and transmission is masking and doing the appropriate social distancing and keeping aware of your surroundings. The CDC has come out with a toolkit to guide parents and individuals as to what the level of concern is in each community. Go to the CDC website, and type in your community. It will tell you risk — low, medium, high — based on caseload and vaccination. But, if you want to be the safest, of course wear a mask at all times because you don’t know other people’s status. They could be asymptomatic carriers.

Can we go about normally after young children are fully vaccinated, i.e., no masks?

Dr. Schifman: I would advise you to go to CDC.gov and look at your community. In low risk community, it probably is safe to go without masks if you are fully vaccinated — and that means boosted if a booster is available for that age group. It all depends. There are some communities where the vaccination rate is low, and the risk is just too great even if you are fully vaccinated.

Can children get natural immunity against COVID instead of that provided by vaccines?

Dr. Schifman: There is natural immunity from any disease. To be protected against the disease, the recommendation still is to get vaccinated. The way the vaccine works is it builds up a much better immunity than the disease itself. If you had Delta variant last year, you would be at risk of getting Omicron this year. The vaccine is broad base. It will cover more than just the one variant you were exposed to.

Should my child be vaccinated even if they already had COVID?

Dr. Schifman: Yes, absolutely. I’ve got two kids – 6 and 8. They were both vaccinated, and my daughter did have COVID after she was vaccinated but she had no symptoms whatsoever. She was fine within 24 hours. No one in our house got COVID even though we were in contact with her the entire time. It’s almost impossible to be hospitalized or die from the disease if you are fully vaccinated. It’s 100% recommended to get the vaccine regardless if you’ve had COVID or not.

Thank you so much to Dr. Schifman for answering Kansas City Moms’ questions. To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vaccine.

Catch the full interview with Dr. Schifman here.

Sarah grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (Go Cats!), she moved to Minnesota where she met her husband, Shea. Realizing how much she hated snow in May, she convinced him to move to Kansas City in 2010. Together they have lived in Midtown, Waldo, the Plaza, and now Overland Park. Sarah is mom to 10-year-old, Henry, 7-year-old Clark and 5-year-old Lucy. She has her master’s in urban administration and is passionate about making Kansas City a more equitable and supportive community. In between the crazy, she likes to drink coffee, run, hike, travel as much as possible, and experience all things Kansas City!