Why one parent and a pediatrician say COVID-19 vaccine for kids is a plus

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – After more than a year of saying no to playdates and birthday parties, sleepovers and personal events like going to theme parks, a parent in South Florida said she would like a chance to protect her children. Meanwhile, the chief physician of one of the largest children’s hospitals in the region said the data is promising on the side effects of the vaccination.

“I’ve really counted the minutes for when they can get the vaccine,” said Susie Gilden, the mother of a 10-year-old and another child who turns 5 in January.

She said a shot of protection will free the family to enjoy a range of activities they had to scale back to reduce exposure.

“It wasn’t dining in restaurants with our kids and especially when the Deelta variant came out this summer, we pulled it back even more. I feel like once we have an extra layer of protection, I can get on a plane, eat at a restaurant and go to Disney World,” Gilden said.

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dr. Ronald Ford, medical director of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said there is another reason for children to get the injection.

“I think it’s important to get this age group vaccinated so we take out additional community members who are vulnerable to COVID,” Ford said, adding that Pfizer’s clinical trials showed minimal side effects for the age group and that the effects were similar to what adults and older children have experienced.

“The dose is actually a third of what the dose is recommended for adolescents and adults, so it’s very, very promising,” he said.

If CDC data tracking slower vaccination rates for 12- to 17-year-olds is any indication, there could be some parental hesitation for school-aged children.

“I understand parents’ reluctance, but I think they can overcome that by getting the latest information and getting advice from the child’s GP,” Ford said.

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Gilden said she wants her kids to have a life again. “This seems like the way to do it.”

An FDA meeting on Pfizer’s request to extend emergency use consent to allow use of the COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 through 11 is scheduled for Oct. 26. a matter of weeks, according to the Associated Press.

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