NYC parents debate COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

Coronavirus

FORT GREENE, Brooklyn — Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 has some Brooklyn parents celebrating, while others weren’t so sure.

Mary Pope, the mother of a 9-year-old, told PIX11 she would not get the vaccine for her son when the FDA issues authorization for that age group. 

“Hell no, I don’t believe it’s safe,” she said.

Outside P.S. 20 in Fort Greene, parents appeared to be equally divided over the latest development in COVID-19 vaccines for children.

Philip Frantzis, the father of a 6-year-old, said he would likely go for the vaccine.

“It would reduce a lot of the stress. A lot of people are uncomfortable with in-person learning, so anything we can do to make it easier we would do,” he said.

Trevor Lewis, the father of a 7-year-old, agreed.

“Sure, if it would work for kids, I will get it, sure,” he added.

But for other parents, it will take a lot of convincing from doctors.

Yasmine Alaofary, the mother of a 5-year-old, won’t be getting the shot for her child.

“I didn’t get it for myself so I’m not going to get it for her. They’re too young for that,” she added.

Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, the director of Global Health for Northwell Health, told PIX11 News the vaccine will give children an “extra layer of protection.”      

“It doesn’t make sense to be worried about the risk of the vaccine and there are no long-term complications,” he added.

The shots are expected to be authorized by the FDA around Halloween.

Pfizer changed the dosing for this age group. They will get just 10 micrograms or one-third of the adult and teen dosing, but the timing of the shots will be the same: 21 days apart.

And doctors like Syra Madad are hoping the alarming rise in COVID cases among children will encourage parents to get the vaccine for their kindergarten and elementary school students once it’s approved.

“It’s one of the things you would say to parents is, ‘do you want to risk your child being hospitalized or suffering from an infection that is now preventable,’” said Dr. Madad, an epidemiologist with NYC Health + Hospitals.

A similar Pfizer vaccine for infants and children between 6 months and 5 years old is being studied and could be sent to the FDA by the end of the year. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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