ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Children as young as five years old could soon roll up their sleeves for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine — a key step in potentially getting millions more vaccinated across the United States.
The data comes after months of trials containing over 2,000 participants between the age of five and 11. Children in the trials were given a smaller dose — two-thirds less than the current vaccine used for those 12 and older.
“There was some thoughtfulness put into this research,” Pediatric doctor at Guthrie Hospital Philip Heavner said. “I think people should really, really take a good look and really consider [getting the vaccine].”
Despite the recommendation from health experts across the Twin Tiers, vaccine hesitancy still looms. 18 News reached out to the Elmira community via social media to ask if parents planned to vaccinate their eligible children between the ages of five and 11.
Out of 169 responses, 131 people — or 78-percent — said they would not vaccinate their child if the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the FDA.
“There have been some national surveys in the last month or so that have suggested that about one-quarter of people can’t wait to get it for their kids, and about one-quarter say they will never get it for [their] kids,” Heavner said.
Health experts are pleading with parents to seriously consider getting their child the shot. They claim it could be a pivotal decision in the pandemic and help bring down pediatric cases, which have soared roughly 240-percent since July.
“I’m a parent of somebody in that age group and I can tell you I will absolutely be going in that direction as soon as she can get [the vaccine],” Heavner said.
Experts also emphasized that opting out of the vaccine could lead to long-term side effects in some children.
“I get it that [parents are] worried about giving this new medication [to their child],” Dr. Justin Nistico of Arnot Health said. “[But] it is also important to know that children over time — even if they get sick with COVID-19 — it could lead to complications, it could lead to other breathing issues.”