Virtual panel address parent questions about newly approved Pfizer vaccine for kids

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 11:36 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2021 at 11:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula and a panel of area health experts held a virtual information session Monday evening to give families the chance to have their questions answered about the newly FDA-approved vaccine for children ages five to 11 years old.

Avula says the state will have its first initial allotment of the vaccine by Tuesday.

“Starting on Nov. 1st and stretching through tomorrow Nov. 9th we are expected to receive a total of 377,000 doses of this Pfizer vaccine,” Avula said. “That 377-Thousand doses cover more than 50 percent of the eligible population throughout the state.”

There are about 723,000 five to 11-year-olds who are newly eligible to receive the FDA-approved vaccine. Avula says nearly every family who wants one for their child should have no problem getting them but admits that newly two-thirds of families are either unsure about getting the vaccine for their child or say they are refusing to get it entirely.

“Really about a third of parents were ready to go ahead and get their kids vaccinated week one and then about another third that wanted to wait and watch and see and then about another third who wasn’t going to get their kids vaccinated.”

Avula says that for this initial allotment the state will be prioritizing areas that had higher vaccine participation among adults and adolescents.

“Henrico is certainly one of those places, as well as Northern Virginia and Charlottesville,” Avula said.

Pediatricians and pharmacies will be the places to go to receive these doses because those are places Avula says parents felt the most comfortable receiving them.

The panel says the newly approved two-dose Pfizer vaccine for young children which come in a smaller orange topped vial is about a third the size of the adult variety and offers about 90% protection against COVID-19 two weeks after the final shot -- Though children may experience similar side effect to like fever aches and irritation at the injection site.

“But those symptoms by and large in kids were less frequent and less severe,” Avula said.

The panel says at this time there has been no mandate for the vaccines to be required for students to continue receiving in-person education.

“Right now the vaccine is not a required vaccination or immunization for our children to be in schools. it is optional for parents. although we are all here promoting it and recommending it,” said Henrico School Health Supervisor Robin Gilbert.

The panel says students who are fully vaccinated would also help minimize the length and occurrence of quarantining as a result of exposure from contact tracing in schools.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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