PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – According to a recent survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly three-quarters of parents don’t want their 5- to 11-year-old vaccinated right away. But that hasn’t stopped organizations in Arizona from preparing for the CDC’s expected approval for this younger age group.
“It’s a game changer for our younger kids,” said Richard Franco, Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) communications director. “We are ready to go and we have already started planning with some of our partner base districts.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued an emergency clearance for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. This is the first Covid-19 vaccine approved in the United States for younger children.
This afternoon, the district hosted a vaccination event at Alhambra High School, where vaccines and boosters from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson were available. This Saturday, their vaccination events in several district locations will be available to 5-11-year-olds, pending approval by the CDC.
PUHSD is far from the only organization preparing to offer the vaccine to younger children. Pleasant Pediatrics in Peoria already has 4,000 scheduled appointments for the 5-11 age group.
“A lot of parents are interested, a lot of parents have questions, good questions,” said Jeff Crosby of Pleasant Pediatric. “And we have good conversations with those parents.”
Those conversations include talking about the potential risks of younger children getting vaccinated. In the Kaiser Family Foundation Study, more than 70 percent of those surveyed said they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about serious side effects such as myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle.
A COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available for small children, and public health leaders say vaccinating it could help end the pandemic, but only if parents actually get them vaccinated.
“If you look at the risks of myocarditis from COVID and the risks of other health complications from COVID, the risk benefit there tends to be the shot in our view,” Crosby said.
Assuming the CDC is approved, Crosby and the staff at Pleasant Pediatrics plan to begin immunizations for 5-11-year-olds on Thursday. Here is the form to sign up.
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