Pediatrician expresses excitement in vaccine clearance for kids, acknowledges concerns

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) — Children ages five to 11 can get a COVID-19 vaccine as early as this week in Wichita. This comes after the director of the CDC approved a recommendation to vaccinate the younger age group. Now that the CDC is recommending Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for elementary school-age children, some parents say it’s a relief.

“I’m all for it. I want our children to feel protected and safe,” said Wichita parent Janiah Irving.

Others are more insecure, including fellow Wichita parent Erica Thenstead.

“I’m hesitant, but it seems like it has to be done on the safe side,” she said.

For local pediatricians, the big step forward for the younger population to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is a day they’ve been waiting for.

“This is huge. This is like Christmas to myself and other pediatricians in the area,” said Ascension Via Christi pediatrician Dr. Amy Seery.

dr. Seery recommends the vaccine for every eligible child.

“Those of us who work in clinics see tons of kids who are gone because they got sick and it interrupted their apprenticeship,” she said.

The dosage for younger children is about one third of the dose used for children 12 years and older. dr. Seery said it’s reasonable for parents to be concerned.

“Many parents want to do good for their children. It’s hard being a parent and it’s another decision thrown on your shoulders. We get it,” she said. “What we do know is that this virus likes to spread like wildfire. We know kids can get it. Those of us who work in hospitals have seen children get quite sick from it. It may be a minority, but it affects children.”

The CDC says children are responsible for about 25 percent of all COVID cases, and as of August 2020, more than 67,000 children under the age of 17 have been hospitalized with the virus. Nationwide, there are 94 deaths caused by COVID-19 in children in the 5 to 11 age group. Five of those cases were in Kansas. Some parents like Irving say they don’t want to take it.

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