BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The push is on to get younger people vaccinated.
According the latest numbers from Erie County for this month so far, a little more than 38-percent of children 12 to 15-years-old and more than 48-percent for those 16 to 17 received at least one vaccine does.
The Buffalo Public School District is trying to reach as many school families as possible.
“They’re going back to school, they going to be around other kids — other people — I just want to make sure she is protected in the best way possible,” remarked Donnel Bidds.
Father and teen daughter at MBK vaccine clinic at McKinley. “If you don’t want to keep your kids in the house for the rest of their lives, get them vaccinated,” Dad says. @eileenwkbw @MBK_Alliance @brother_buffalo pic.twitter.com/6bw9LVQtUn— Buffalo Schools (@Buffalo_Schools) July 12, 2021
Bidds, a Buffalo School parent, brought his daughter, Queabah, 13, Waterfront School student, to a vaccine clinic at McKinley High School Monday.
“You want them to go back to school in-person. You want to go back to work and you know you're going to put your child outside — get the vaccination,” declared Bidds.
“How do you feel about getting the shot today?” Buckley asked the teen.
“I felt nervous, but it didn't really hurt much,” replied Queabah Bidds. “It wasn’t that bad.”
This is the second phase of clinics being hosted by the city school district during summer school. Phase one occurred before the school year ended in June.
A final blitz will take place before the school year begins in September — all designed to encourage students and families to get vaccinated against COVID.
But the district is facing hesitancy as some parents fear potential side-effects.
“What do you say to other parents that are hesitant to get their child vaccinated?" Buckley questioned.
“If your plan ain't to keep your child in the house for the rest of their life — do it,” Bidds responded.
“I’d rather them be safe and be vaccinated — you know then take the chance of them catching it getting sick,” remarked Teresa Berry.
Berry, a Buffalo school parent, brought her two oldest children, 14 and 16, to get vaccinated and shared advice for other parents who are afraid.
‘I would say get vaccinated — it's better to be safe than take a risk with your life,” replied Berry.
The district says it's continuing to deal with vaccine hesitancy from students.
At McKinley, some students say they Googled information on the vaccines, so the district is conducting some ‘myth-busting’ for them.
“The biggest is that they feel that because they've been healthy up to this point — that they're immune to getting COVID 19,” stated Tonja Williams, associate superintendent of Student Support Services.
Williams tells 7 Eyewitness News she's making sure students and families have all the facts about the vaccination and COVID.
“They don't want to be carriers to younger siblings to grandparents to parents who may have immune compromised systems,” Williams noted.
Williams says the district is making every effort to make sure they educate families.
“We are just going to keep on going,” Williams stated.
Another COVID vaccine clinic will be hosted by the district again at McKinley on July 26th from 9 a.m. to noon.
Jetaun Ross says she knows first hand how devastating covid can be. She got sick last April and is still dealing with shortness of breath.
Ross says there were times she thought COVID would take her life.
Despite this, Ross says many people she knows are still unsure about getting vaccinated.
“What keeps them from getting it?” Buckley inquired. “They don't trust it — they're nervous just like I was, but you know you just got to get it done,” answered Ross.
For children ages six months to 12-years of age, vaccine trials continue.
Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of division of Infectious Diseases, UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine, said multiple doses are being evaluated and data could be issued by the end this summer or early fall.
But final approval for that age group too become eligible might not come until the end of this year or early 2020.
Some parents say they are hesitant because the vaccines still have not received final FDA approval.
They were approved for emergency use only and still have not received final FDA approval. But Dr. Russo says parents should not worry about the r Moderna vaccines at this point.
"I would not be concerned with Moderna, Pfizer vaccines, even though they are under emergency use authorization,” stated Dr. Russo. “Pfizer, Moderna both submitted their six-month data. That data looks great and in fact, I anticipate that Pfizer will likely see full licenser probably sometime this month.”
In the meantime, Dr. Russo strongly recommends school families get children 12 to 18 years of age vaccinated before the new school year begins.