On Wednesday, the White House Administration announced its plan to rollout COVID-19 vaccines if and when they’re authorized for children ages 5-11. The move was met with mixed reactions from parents.
“I’m not comfortable with it for myself, so I’m not going to give it to my kid,” said mom Talai Carter. “The reason why is I’m afraid of what it may do to you later on down the road.”
“I think it’s great that it’ll be available to any parent who wants to protect their kids,” said Tim Lash, who has a 16-month-old daughter.
Vaccine advisers to the FDA are set to meet next week to consider Pfizer’s request to authorize its vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
Dr. Noelle Bissell with the New River Health District said that although kids might receive less of a dose, it doesn’t mean they’d be any less protected.
“Our children have very, very robust immune systems. So it doesn’t take as much of a dose to stimulate a very good response,” said Bissell.
Pediatric and primary care offices, community health centers, rural health clinics and pharmacies would be equipped to give out the shots.
“We knew this was coming so we’ve been planning this for quite some time,” said Bissell.
Still, Nancy Bell, the spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health West Piedmont Health District, knows parents will have questions.
“I don’t expect everyone to race to the doctor and get their shots right away,” said Bell. “We are really hoping most parents will take advantage of this.”
One of those questions: will the shot be mandated in schools?
“We have not heard any hints of any mandates. Does not mean they’re not coming, but usually, we hear through the grapevine and we haven’t heard,” said Bell.
She also wants to calm families’ concerns about the effectiveness of a vaccine that hasn’t been around a long time.
“Today’s trials are more vigorous. They can do them more quickly. The algorithms are in place. So I don’t want people to let that be a concern,” said Bell. “We would not provide it if we did not think it was safe. and we are recommending it 100%.”
Parents 10 News spoke with want more information first.
“I’m for the vaccine. Eleven [years old] maybe, but I’m a little concerned about the age of five,” said Jackie Bledsoe, who lives in the Roanoke Valley and has 16 grandchildren. “There isn’t enough data out there to support long-term effect on a 5-year-old.”