Vaccine-hesitant parents pose challenge for child COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Oct. 27, an advisory panel for the FDA will meet to vote on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. In anticipation, the White House announced its rollout plan for the vaccines pending approval.

Education and outreach will be a big part of the plan. Rather than setting up large vaccine clinics that were seen for adults, the White House said it planned to focus on putting doses where parents are already comfortable.

For vaccinated parents with unvaccinated children, life isn’t back to normal yet.

“We’re just not really eating indoors, just still being pretty cautious about things because of him,” said Chelsea Reagan. She is waiting for the time her son can get his COVID-19 shot.

“The experts, they develop the vaccine, they know what they’re doing, and so we put our trust in them,” she said.

Jillian Link is also eager to vaccinate her child. She sees the impacts of not being vaccinated first-hand while working in a COVID-19 unit.

“I think you have to trust your parent instincts. You know what’s best for your individual child, but just make sure you’re getting the right information from the right resources,” she said.

If the FDA and CDC approve the vaccines for children, the White House plans to focus on sending doses to pediatricians and family doctors’ offices.

“Parents will still have questions and we’d want to make sure that they’re getting answers to their questions from the health professionals they depend on the most. Those are your pediatricians, your family doctors,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House vaccinations coordinator.

So far, 25,000 offices nationwide are signed up with more on the way. Part of the strategy also includes incorporating community health centers and school-based vaccine clinics.

One of the biggest challenges is getting vaccine-hesitant parents on board.

“We have to work with these folks. And that’s why an important part of our operational plan is to build vaccine confidence, having conversations with parents providing parents with answers to their questions,” Choucair said.

An FDA panel is scheduled to meet next Wednesday to vote on vaccines for this age group. The CDC will then meet to make its decision. If everything goes smoothly, this group could start vaccinations by Thanksgiving.

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