BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Children 5-11 can start getting their COVID-19 vaccine today. Both Doctor Lauren Kuwik and Doctor Raul Vazquez said they have 300 doses to give to their patients.
“As a parent and pediatrician, we’ve been waiting for this for months,” Dr. Kuwik said.
“This adds real protection to them which they didn’t really have before this,” Dr. Vazquez said.
And this added protection should help keep kids in school. Currently in New York State, if there is a COVID-19 infection in a classroom, a fully vaccinated student would not have to quarantine.
“Which is gigantic,” Dr. Kuwik said. “I talk to so many quarantined families and it’s really difficult.”
The CDC now recommends all children ages 5-11 get a low dose series of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Kids can start getting shots in arms today...this will also help alleviate quarantine requirements for children in school. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/8d4ZbpMnCw— Natalie Fahmy (@NatalieFahmy) November 3, 2021
But many parents are still on the fence about getting their children vaccinated. A survey done by KFF Vaccine Monitor in October shows 27% of parents are eager to get their kids the shot.
“Although the risk is low for hospitalization, it can still happen, and this is a vaccine preventable illness,” Kuwik said.
“If parents would get their parents vaccinated, we’d be in much quicker position of getting restrictions out of place,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.
“We’re in a pandemic, this is a highly contagious illness,” Dr. Kuwik said. “It’s the best interest of your child to not get this.”
“We’re asking all parents to get their children vaccinated if they’re over the age of 5,” Poloncarz said.
No mandate can be put in place until the vaccine is fully approved. Dr. Vazquez said in the meantime, masks are still a good idea.
“Maybe march, April, we start looking at this a little bit different,” Dr. Vazquez said.
Data from the clinical trial shows that the most common side effect is a sore arm at the injection site. There were very few cases of fever and chills among children. The CDC reports some other side effects may include feeling tired as well as headaches and nausea. Experts emphasize that the vaccine is safe and effective.
If you are planning on traveling for thanksgiving, do not get your child their first dose this week, as they’ll need to be back three weeks later for their second dose. CVS is also offering the vaccine for children 5-11, you can make an appointment on their website.
Test to stay in school is still being discussed.
“We want to get it right the first time,” Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said.