Vaccinating children against COVID-19: Local doctor points to the facts


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As children ages 5 to 11 roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, some parents may still have doubts and questions. We’re on your side separating fact from fiction.

“The kids are getting sicker than they were before so we can and do have an opportunity with the vaccine prevent some of the more severe infections,” said Dr. Douglas Mitchell, pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

Dr. Mitchell said early on in the pandemic, doctors weren’t too concerned about severe COVID infections in children. That changed as the pandemic raged on. This summer and fall was a major turning point.

“The number of cases in pediatric hospitals has escalated since the delta variant in summer,” he said.

Regulators cleared Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 earlier this month. When making the decision to get your child vaccinated, Mitchell says stick to the facts

“People are concerned about safety and we know it’s a safe vaccine,” he said. “We have the experience of several hundred million doses in the older population to show the safety profile of the vaccine.”

If you’re hesitant and still have questions, “go to your pediatrician,” he advised.

Surrounding the conversation of children getting the COVID vaccine is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. Dr. Mitchell says that’s an extremely rare side effect that’s temporary and mild.

He said a severe COVID infection for your child could be much worse.

“It’s clear that COVID disease causes heart diseases that are not temporary and are not mild,” he said.

If you’re looking to get your child vaccinated, dR. Mitchell says nearly all of their pediatric offices have it available. You can also get it at the mass vaccination site at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk.

He adds several local school districts are planning on providing the vaccine at schools as well.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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