Getty Kids getting the COVID-19 vaccine
More than 360,000 kids aged 5 to 11 have already received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the first five days since the Centers for Disease Control formally authorized Pfizer's vaccine for use.
Last Wednesday, the CDC cleared a smaller dose of Pfizer's vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds and inoculations started across the country the next day. In New York City, public schools had lines around the block of parents lined up to get their kids vaccinated and many ran out of doses, according to NBC 4. In Washington, D.C., people waited hours for the vaccine, hoping to protect their kids after months of waiting.
"We have been anxious to get them shots from the beginning," Jude Bien-Aimé, the dad of an 8-year-old and two 10-year-old boys, told The Washington Post.
As more kids get vaccinated, the CDC said they will update their vaccination charts to include a section for the vaccination rate in the population aged 5 and up — currently, the youngest they have is for those aged 12 and up.
Children's National Hospital 8-year-old Carter Giglio after getting his first dose at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
But while there is a large portion of parents who immediately went out to get their kids vaccinated, recent polling has found that around one-third are hesitant, and another third do not intend to vaccinate their kids. Some parents feel that it isn't necessary for the young age group to get inoculated given they are less likely to develop a severe illness from COVID-19, but experts have warned that they can still have adverse outcomes, or pass the virus on to others.
"While children have, in general, had less severe illness than adults, their lives have definitely been impacted by COVID-19," says PEOPLE Health Squad pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a specialist in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Child Health Advocacy. "Many thousands of children have been hospitalized and children in this age group have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic. Children also do spread the disease so anything we can do to lessen the illness, the better off we will be."
Plus, she adds, "it's also important to know that MIS-C, the severe post-COVID illness seen in children, is most common in this age group."
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Clinical trials for the vaccine found that there were no adverse side effects in kids aged 5 to 11, and that it was more than 90% effective in preventing even mild symptoms of COVID-19.
"I know that this is an incredibly safe vaccine that has saved lives, decreases illness, and once fully vaccinated will allow my kindergartner to have an extra layer of protection to keep her safe in school and when out in the world," Murray, the mom of 5- and 12-year-old daughters, says. "I wouldn't recommend vaccinating your children if I wasn't comfortable vaccinating my own."
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