WakeMed pediatrician hearing concerns from parents as kids begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Thursday was the first day COVID-19 vaccines were widely available for children ages 12 to 15. Pediatricians are now helping guide parents with their decision to vaccinate or not.

Marcus Monroe, 14, is one of the first children under 16 to get a COVID-19 vaccine. He showed up to WakeMed on Thursday with his family and no hesitation. He encouraged others his age to get their shot, too.

“I know it’s great. It’ll do it’s job,” said Marcus.

He misses the little things from pre-pandemic times like playing basketball in the gym with his friends. He now looks forward to big things.

“Like being able to go on vacation. I know we’re going to Disney World later this year and I won’t have to worry too much,” said Marcus.

Part of his confidence in the vaccine comes from his mom’s advocacy for the vaccine. Dr. Rasheeda Monroe is a pediatrician at WakeMed. She organized “strike teams” to get vaccines into the hardest-hit areas in Wake County. Those teams were able to distribute more than 15,000 doses.

She’s now relieved her son gets his shot.

“I’m very thankful. I just think of all of the things that my children haven’t been able to do for the past year,” she said.

Combating vaccine hesitancy

Not all parents feel the same.

“We’re not new to this process and these conversations. I just think it’s important parents are open and honest about what their reservations are,” Monroe said.

The top questions Monroe is getting is why kids need the vaccine if they’re less likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.

“We know that children live with families. They live with grandparents and parents who are in the workplace and have high-risk diseases,” Monroe said. She added that children are an important part of getting society back to normal.

Still, a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found more than half of parents who don’t plan to get the vaccine don’t want it for their child either. Almost a quarter of those parents who don’t want it said their child is only getting it if schools require it.

Monroe encouraged parents who are hesitant or unsure to take their questions to their pediatrician.

“This is our Superbowl as pediatricians. This is what we do. We vaccinate people and we keep people safe,” she said.

Monroe added that keeping children safe from COVID-19 means the rest of us are safer too.

Side effects in children 12-15

Injection site pain, fatigues, and headache were the most common side effect in children in the 12 to 15 age group. Pfizer reported side effects were similar between the 12 to 15 age group and the 16 and over age group. Below are side effects seen after the first and second doses.

Injection site pain86%79%

Where can I get my child a shot?

Wake County

Durham County

The Durham Department of Health offers vaccines by walk-in or appointment. Walk-in hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9:00am-4:00pm, and Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Call 919-560-HELP (4357) for an appointment.

Cumberland County

Visit co.cumberland.nc.us/covid19vaccine or call (910) 678-7657 to make an appointment.

Cumberland County Health Department Vaccination ClinicsAll individuals age 12 and up
Friday, May 14 Fayetteville Urban Ministry
701 Whitfield St.
1st Dose by appointments 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Standby Lane open all day
Monday, May 17 Cumberland County Department of Public Health
1235 Ramsey St
1st Dose by appointment 9 a.m to 4 p.m
J&J only (18 and up)
Tuesday, May 18 Crown Expo Center
1960 Coliseum Drive
2nd dose by appointment9 a.m. to 4 p.m. No Standby lane
Wednesday, May 18 Crown Expo Center
1960 Coliseum Drive
1st dose by appointment9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Standby lane open all day
Friday, May 19 Spring Lake Rec Center
245 Ruth Street
1st and 2nd doses by appointment 9am-2pm
Standby lane open all day

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