PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Although Portland Public Schools has delayed taking any action on a COVID mandate for young students, health officials said there is no reason parents should be concerned about getting their 5-11 year olds vaccinated.

“If your child is over 5 years old and eligible to get the vaccine, I would have no hesitation get them vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil DeSouza, a pediatrician with Metropolitan Pediatrics. Adverse reactions to the shot are “extremely rare and the risk for COVID and heart problems or other problems from COVID infection is much bigger.”

The vaccine for kids between 5-11 is one-third the dose of the adult vaccine and many kids — like adults — will have mild side effects. But health officials haven’t seen any major allergic reactions.

There are some teenagers seeing myocarditis, which is heart inflammation, but at a lower rate than those who get COVID.

“So the risk of heart problems from a COVID infection is way more significant than the self-limited, small, rare side effects from the vaccine,” DeSouza said.

There are common misconceptions parents have about the vaccine for kids.

“It’s not just getting sick and going to the hospital,” DeSouza said. “From the studies that we’ve done so far it can prevent having any symptoms up to 91%.”

One thing he said he hears often is that patients don’t need the vaccine because they’ve already had COVID. But he said we don’t know how long natural immunity from the infection lasts.