HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – After a more than a year of saying no to play dates and birthday parties, sleepovers and in-person events like going to theme parks, one South Florida parents said she is eager to secure a shot of protection for her children. Meanwhile, the chief medical officer of one of the region’s largest pediatric hospitals, said the data is promising about the side effects of the vaccination.
“I really have been counting the minutes for when they are able to get the vaccine,” said Susie Gilden, who is the mother of a 10-year-old and another child who will turn 5 in January.
She said shot of protection will free the family to enjoy a range of activities they had to scale back on to mitigate against exposure.
“It was not dining inside restaurants with our kids and certainly once the Deelta variant came out this summer, we pulled it back in even more. I feel like once we have an added layer of protection, I can get on a plane, I can go to eat at a restaurant, I can go to Disney World,” Gilden said.
Dr. Ronald Ford, chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said there is another reason for children to get the shot.
“I think it is important to get this age group vaccinated so that we take away additional members of the community that are vulnerable to COVID,” said Ford, adding that Pfizer’s clinical trials showed minimal side effects for the age group and that the effects were similar to what adults and older children experienced.
“The dose is actually a third of what the dose is recommended for adolescents and adults so it is very, very promising,” he said.
If CDC data that tracked slower vaccine adoption rates for 12-to-17 year olds is any indication, there could be some parental hesitancy for school-aged children.
“I do understand parents’ reluctance, but i think that the way they can overcome that is to get the latest information and to get counseling from the child’s primary care physician,” Ford said.
Gilden said she wants her kids to have a life again. “This seems like the way to do that.”
An FDA meeting about Pfizer’s request to expand its emergency use authorization to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 through 11 is scheduled for Oct. 26. If regulators give the go-ahead, reduced-dose kids’ shots could begin within a matter of weeks, according to the Associated Press.