Local doctors prepare for expected Pfizer COVID vax approval for kids ages 5-11 | News


SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)– The final approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 is expected sometime next week and local doctors are getting ready to give out the shots in their offices. While they’re working to make it as painless as possible for their patients, many are also trying to alleviate concerns raised by parents.

At Baystate Medical Center, we found doctors have already started pre-ordering doses for younger children. But private practice pediatricians will also be giving out COVID shots. And they’re working to make kids and parents more comfortable about it.

“I have a nine-year-old, she’s definitely going to get it,“ said Steven Grant of Springfield.

Some local parents are on board with getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19 as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could give the final green light for ages 5 to 11 to get a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine as early as next week. But others are still on the fence.

“I think hold off and see how it works out, see more of the research,” said one anonymous person.

A Western Mass News poll has been asking parents what they’re planning to do once the vaccine is approved for this younger population of children.

Parents: what are you planning to do once the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for ages 5-11?

Nearly 31 percent responded they’ll get their children vaccinated right away, but almost 11 percent are waiting to see how it rolls out, while more than half said they’re not interested, and close to 6 percent say they’re not sure yet.

Dr. John Kelley of Redwood Pediatrics in East Longmeadow said some of his families are still unsure.

“I got to say in my practice it’s been about 60 to 70% are very interested in being contacted,” said Dr.Kelley.

Dr. Kelley said education is key.

“I think with any vaccine rollout we’re gonna see some glitches along the way and we’re going to learn along the way,” said Dr. Kelley.

He told Western Mass news while mass vaccination sites may work for adults, it’s important to provide children a comfortable, familiar setting.

“They’re going to be seeing folks that they know and recognize, and it’s a setting where we routinely give vaccines,“ said Dr. Kelley.

And his practice will be rolling out vaccine clinics on weekends, similar to flu clinics to minimize wasted supply once the first dose is used from a vaccine vial.

“It’s good for six hours I believe so you have to utilize those six doses within the six hours,” said Dr. Kelley.

As for Dr. John O’Reilly at Baystate Medical Center, he’s providing a level of comfort that he knows, a prize at the end never hurts.

“The kids have been brave through their lives getting their vaccines and they’re going to be brave for this…and they know at the end there’s probably a sticker waiting for them,“ said Dr. Reilly.

Once again, the COVID vaccine for ages 5-11 is expected to receive final CDC approval as early as next week. Dr. Kelley and Dr. O’Reilly said if you have any questions that now’s the time to call your child’s pediatrician to get answers.

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