Community members express concerns over kids getting the COVID-19 vaccine
With more people getting their coronavirus shot soon, that raises the question about what it will take for us to reach herd immunity. The nation’s leading health expert says it will take children getting vaccinated to get to where we need to be. But not all pediatricians or parents are on board with the idea.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says we should be able to reach our herd immunity goals in the fall if high school students get vaccinated.
“They have their vaccines,” said Carisa Rowell, who is concerned about vaccines for kids. “They’re up to date on all of them.”
Rowell says, when it comes vaccines, her kids are covered, but the COVID-19 vaccine is another story.
“I’ve thought about it, and I don’t want my kids to get it because it just came out,” Rowell said. “So I don’t feel comfortable with it.”
“People are fearing for the lives of their kids, and I can’t blame them,” said Dr. Thomas Schiller, a pediatrician at Lee Health.
But that hesitancy could create a problem.
National experts such as Fauci say, when it comes to herd immunity, “We ultimately would like to get, and have to get, children into that mix.”
Schiller says some of the vaccine hesitancy comes from the assumption that children aren’t hurt by the coronavirus.
“22% of the population in the U.S. is under 18,” Schiller said. “And they’re going to spread this around, and the only way we’re going to get a real grip on this is by vaccinating everybody.”
According to the CDC, since the pandemic began, more than 2.5 million children have contracted COVID-19, and 300 have died. And 2,600 children have developed multi-system inflammatory syndrome from the virus. Thirty-three of those children died as well.
“We’ve had some of our own patients have that,” Schiller said. “And thankfully, the one that was in my practice didn’t die, but she was in the intensive care unit.”
That’s why schiller says, if the data proves the vaccines are safe for kids, “I’ll be right in the front trying to get people to do it,” Schiller said.
One researcher we spoke to said an option for parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children is to focus on frequent and rapid testing. That way outbreaks can be shut down before they start.