KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— This week, pediatrician offices and medical clinics are receiving COVID vaccine doses for children under five.
This is the last major age group now eligible for the vaccine. 19 million children in this demographic can begin getting the vaccine immediately.
The question now is, will there be many families interested in getting the shot for their young children?
It’s time for a pediatric wellness visit for Hanna Cregar’s 1-year-old daughter, Kalena. Taking her height and weight are part of the visit, but one thing that’s not is a COVID-19 vaccination just approved for children in Kalena’s age group.
“I don’t like it,” said Cregar.
So why is mom so reluctant?
“They just made it very shortly in a short time, in a period and you don’t know what’s in it,” she said.
“Yeah, I get that question a lot,” stated pediatrician Dr. Alvaro Reymunde, MD, at PAK Pediatrics.
And a lot more now for Pediatrician Alvaro Reymunde, MD, since PAK Pediatrics began offering the vaccine on Wednesday to children six months old to just younger than five.
“I always tell them that we, our bodies are processing thousands of bacteria and viruses every single day. Putting another one that’s been modified and deemed safe for the body is not a big deal,” explained Dr. Reymunde.
Children in the youngest demographic have been vulnerable during the pandemic without vaccine protection.
“Other members of the family who may be vulnerable at home have gotten COVID from young children so it’s created a tension within families that I hope now will go away and parents will get their children immunized,” said Doctor Donald Schwarz, MD/MPH, Senior VP of Programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“The Pfizer dose for kids that are six months to five years old, or six months to four years old, is actually a much smaller dose than the adult dose,” Dr. Reymunde told Eyewitness News.
The COVID vaccine dose for the youngest of eligible children is a three-shot sequence over a roughly two to three-month period. The key now, health experts say, is to get kids to start with that first shot.
“The vaccine is safe. It is studied. We have researched it. We’re not just going with the flow. We do our homework and we’re safe and, you know, we’re confident that this vaccine is safe for our children,” said Dr. Reymunde
Only about one in five children between five and 11 years old have gotten a covid vaccination.
Health experts hope to expand on that while encouraging parents of younger children to get vaccinated, two key goals before the fall semester and when we could see the potential of another highly contagious variant.