Local pediatrician: Don’t give kids anxiety over COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer Vaccine

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

But University Medical Center Pediatrician Shawn Cecil said the vaccine can’t be administered to children just yet.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Advisory Committee is meeting this week and will make its own recommendation. If the advisory committee approves the move, the final decision lies with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics, their president has come out and said that the COVID vaccine is safe and effective, and they’re encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” Cecil said.

The children’s Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose shot series taken three weeks apart.

“We are encouraging people after you get that first COVID vaccine, to go ahead and schedule that second appointment, three weeks later,” Cecil said.

The children’s dose is a third the size of the adult dosage.

“Despite only getting a third of the dose, the studies have been showing that they are having the exact same antibody response that adults are having. It’s working pretty well,” Cecil said.

According to Pfizer, their COVID-19 vaccine is 90.7% effective at keeping COVID from infecting children.

So how should parents talk to their children about getting the vaccine? Cecil said it depends on their age.

“I’ve got a 5-year-old child at home, and she will be getting her COVID-19 vaccine once it gets fully approved,” Cecil said. “Part of that process that my wife and I will be talking about with her is just as far as she will be coming to the doctor. But we tell her it’s going to make sure everything is healthy.”

Avoiding anxiety in children is a high priority, she said, and telling younger children they’ll be getting a shot might cause more harm than good, Cecil said.

If you have any concerns, talk with your family physician or pediatrician and share those concerns, she said.

University Medical Center is looking to start scheduling appointments for the children’s Pfizer vaccine by the end of the week.

You can schedule an appointment by calling UMC at 205-348-1471.

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