SWFL COVID-19 vaccine clinics for kids 5 to 11 continue Monday

Parents can get their children 5 and older vaccinated against COVID-19 Monday. The first school clinic for this age group is open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hector Cafferata Elementary School, located at 250 Santa Barbara Blvd. N. in Cape Coral.

At Monday’s clinic, and at clinics throughout the week, children can get their COVID-19 vaccine after being given Pain Ease spray to alleviate any discomfort or fear of needles. A pediatric nurse will give children the vaccine and parents will also see a pharmacist and paramedic on hand. The clinic is walk-up only, and there is no cost.

Just a couple weeks ago, the CDC gave parents clearance to vaccinate their children in the 5 to 11 age range, but some parents aren’t sure what to expect. Some worry their child is too young, others have questions before they make a final decision. One big question: What are the possible side effects?

Dr. Stephanie Stovall, a pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital, says that if there are any side effects, they will come and go quickly. As for long-term effects, she says they’re not as much of a concern.

“The long-term side effects associated with vaccines are virtually nil,” Stovall said. “From that perspective, we can look historically and know that that is not a concern here. Additionally, we have inflammation. Now, again, we’re not two decades out from this specific vaccine, so I can’t give you 20-year data they based upon this vaccine, only on others. But we do know a significant amount about the biology associated with vaccines. The MRNA from these vaccines actually does not last in the body very long at all.”

Some parents say they won’t get their child vaccinated because they already had COVID-19 and were fine. Stovall says that doesn’t promise protection from a second round of COVID-19 with worse results, nor does their age.

“It’s always a concern,” Stovall said. “Anytime we have to make a decision about what’s best for our children as parents, that’s our responsibility. And I respect that. I’m a parent myself. But, as parents, what you need to know is that if your child survived COVID-19, and didn’t have hospitalization, severe illness, long-term symptoms of COVID[-19], or [multisystem inflammatory syndrome] associated with COVID[-19], you were lucky and they were lucky. And that’s wonderful.”

Reporter:Emma Heaton
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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