Florida DOH: COVID vaccine will be widely available for kids 5-11 this week

8 On Your Side

TAMPA (WFLA) – The COVID-19 vaccine for children is here and the Florida Department of Health says shots will be widely available across the state this week.

A local mom jumped at the chance for her six-year-old to receive the shot but for other parents, it’s not a simple decision.

Derek Jones didn’t even flinch as he received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy this weekend. His mom Danielle Jones says he didn’t have any side effects after the first shot.

“He actually didn’t miss a beat,” said Jones. “I’m more concerned about him getting COVID than getting the COVID vaccine.”

It’s a feeling many Tampa Bay area families are feeling as some want their kids to be protected in time for the holidays.

According to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

For recipients of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their one shot.

The Florida Department of Health is receiving over 90,000 doses of Pfizer for kids ages 5 to 11. The DOH says the initial shipment should be delivered this week available at doctor offices, pharmacies and county health departments.

CDC data shows nationwide, less than 1 percent of kids under the age of 12 have been vaccinated. Data for the age group will be updated later this week, according to the agency. The current data is “the result of vaccination trial data and historical data that is subject to change,” the agency said.

Dr. Allison Messina with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital says some parents wonder if it’s worth getting the vaccine since COVID is known to be less severe in kids.

“The FDA and the CDC had to deliberate on what is safer to do,” said Dr. Messina. “And all of the studies pretty much very clearly show that it is safer to have those children get vaccinated.”

In the 5 to 11 age group, Dr. Messina says, 8,300 kids have been hospitalized nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

“5 to 11-year-old people are among the healthiest people in our population and they shouldn’t be going to the hospital really at all,” she said.

If you choose vaccination, it’s recommended that you don’t give your child Tylenol, or Motrin beforehand.

Dr. Messina says data shows pre-treating a child could lower their antibody response, potentially leaving them less protected, and says it’s safe to get the COVID and flu vaccine at the same time.

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

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