COVID-19 vaccine for 12 years and older: What parents should know

COVID-19 Vaccine

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — With word that the Pfizer vaccine will likely be available for children ages 12 to 15 by the end of the week, parents must now consider whether to get their children vaccinated.

We already know children who get COVID-19 often don’t get very sick, if at all.

So, 10 On Your Side asked Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Medical Group Director Dr. Douglas Mitchell, if children even need the vaccine.

“Kids don’t have as severe disease but they do have symptomatic disease, so it will prevent that,” Mitchell said.

He told us it will also greatly contribute to herd immunity.

“The ability to stop the spread by immunizing can’t be overstated,” he said.

Immunizing children is part of the plan to return students to school, allow them to interact with each other and teachers, and help them receive needed resources, Mitchell explained.

“The technology of these vaccines has been around for a very long time, so the understanding and safety has been proven for a very long time,” Mitchell said.

He also pointed to the astronomical number of doses delivered in a short amount of time, that have been tracked for potential side effects.

He urges parents with specific concerns to talk to their child’s pediatrician.

“In CHKD, we do and will have vaccine available if that’s where the families want to get it and be able to have that one on one conversation with their pediatrician,” he said.

Plans are also in the works to offer vaccines to children at mass clinics, and through some school districts, but before you go, check your calendar. Mitchell explained that the timing with mandatory back-to-school immunizations and the Pfizer vaccine can be tricky.

“No other vaccine two weeks before [the] first dose, until two weeks after the second dose, so you’ve got this seven-week period where we can’t give any other vaccines,” he said.

This year, there are a couple of new mandatory shot requirements for those entering kindergarten, seventh and 12th grade.

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