Your Questions Answered {COVID Vaccines}

This content is paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To find a COVID vaccine near you, visit; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about COVID vaccines.

your questions answered about covid vaccinesWe were grateful for the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Loftus-Smith of St. Elizabeth Physicians to get YOUR questions answered about COVID vaccines. We know this information will be helpful to Greater Cincinnati & NKY families as they make their decisions about vaccinating their children.


St. Elizabeth Physicians - Abby Loftus-Smith, MD
Abby Loftus-Smith, MD

Abby Loftus-Smith, MD is an OB/GYN with St. Elizabeth Physicians. She is a local mom with three daughters of her own and is described by her patients as being welcoming, caring, professional, and taking the time to really listen.


University of Cincinnati :: Medical Education
Good Samaritan Hospital :: Residency


American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology


We know that many parents still have questions about COVID vaccines for children. We polled our audience over the last few weeks and found that many questions overlap among families! Dr. Loftus-Smith answered some of our readers’ most frequently asked audience questions. 

Courtney Snow, CMC
Hello, Cincy Moms! My name is Courtney Snow, and I am so glad that you are tuning in for a very special interview with OB/GYN, Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith of St. Elizabeth Physicians. This video is recorded in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We know that many parents still have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children. We polled our audience over the last few weeks and found that many questions overlap among families. Dr. Loftus-Smith is going to be answering some of our readers’ most frequently asked audience questions. Dr. Loftus-Smith, thank you so much for being with us today.

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
Thank you, Courtney, for having me. I’m happy to be here.

Courtney Snow, CMC
Oh, yes, we are so glad. We love St. Elizabeth, and we are so excited that you are able to join us. So, we’re going to try and get through hopefully five questions here. And the first one, a common concern many parents have expressed is that they’ve heard a number of people say they think the vaccine will affect girls’ fertility as a reason not to get their daughters vaccinated. Is there any truth to this?

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
So really, we are fortunate at this point to have robust data from women and from girls who have been vaccinated. It’s been around now, you know, 18 months or longer, up to two years, with patients who are in our test studies, and we’ve not seen any concerns with fertility. We’ve had patients get pregnant since getting the vaccine – and while having the vaccine with no issue. We also know that the way the vaccine works is it really doesn’t incorporate into your DNA. So there’s really no mechanism by which it could cause infertility, which is why we didn’t have any concerns really from the get go.

Courtney Snow, CMC
Okay, okay, good to know. Thank you. Next, several parents asked, is there any difference in the ingredients or dosing of the COVID vaccines for younger children, older children, or adults? How would you answer this?

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
So there’s a little bit of difference in our five to 11 age group. So this is similar to other vaccines; it’s really age-based dosing. It’s based on a child’s or adult’s weight. So our five to 11 year old group has a smaller dose than the 12 and up. Kids 12 and older really have the same dosing as adults. They all have the same active ingredients, but we’ve changed the dose. We anticipate probably, if we have a younger audience, the two to four age range, they would get an even smaller dose. So it’s really based on age.

Courtney Snow, CMC
Okay, great. The next question we had is, if you have any children of your own, what vaccination decision did you make and why, and if you don’t have children, what have you told your friends and family members about vaccinating their children?

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
So I have three daughters. They are 11, eight, and four. So my older two, the eight and 11 year olds were vaccinated really as soon as it was approved for them. They’ve done their whole series. The four-year-old is obviously on hold, but as soon as she’s approved or of age, we will get her vaccinated as well. And I think most of my colleagues and my friends are doing the same as me. That’s what I’d recommend.

Courtney Snow, CMC
Okay, all right, perfect. A major concern many of our followers asked about was the short- and long-term possible effects of the COVID vaccine. Can you be absolutely certain that these vaccines are safe for children when we have such limited data on the long-term effects? What would you like parents to know?

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
So, you know, despite not having years and years of data, we do really know how the vaccine works. And the vaccine is only in your system for a couple of days, you know, it’s kind of making your body have an immune response, but it’s not incorporating it into your system. So the vaccine is out really quickly. And we don’t anticipate long term effects as a result of the vaccine. There can be some short-term side effects when you get the vaccine. And usually for kids, those are a sore arm, maybe a little bit of fatigue, maybe low-grade fever, but it’s usually really mild, really limited, and resolves on its own.

Courtney Snow, CMC
Okay, okay, that’s good information. And then the last question we have for you today surrounds vaccine timing, knowing that there’s generally an uptick in cases at the start of the school year, should parents consider timing vaccines or boosters to be done in late summer to ensure they have the best protection or that the protection is not waiting at the start of school?

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
So COVID is really tricky, you know, and we’ve really seen kind of peaks and valleys with the COVID infections, not necessarily tied to a specific time period yet, but it depends on the COVID variant. So I wouldn’t be sure that it’s going to start right in the beginning of the school year or right after Christmas break. It really would be best for parents to just get kids vaccinated as soon as possible, so that they’re covered year-round.

Courtney Snow, CMC
Okay, okay. Really good advice. So I think that’s about all the time we have for today. Dr. Loftus-Smith, we thank you so much for taking your time to answer these questions for our audience. And thank you to all of you who submitted questions for review. We wish we had time to get to all of them and appreciate your willingness to engage in this conversation, so that we can all make the best choices for our families. To our readers, please share with a parent who might find this information helpful. But again, Dr. Loftus-Smith, we really, really appreciate your time and your expertise.

Dr. Abby Loftus-Smith
Thank you so much for having me.

Courtney Snow, CMC


Thank you to all of YOU who submitted questions for review! We wish we had time to get to all of them and appreciate your willingness to engage in this conversation, so that we can all make the best choices for our families.


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