Parents, pediatricians prepare to vaccinate children ages 5-11 in Tampa Bay


TAMPA (WFLA) – Rupa Friedhoff says her seven-year-old daughter is ready to roll up her sleeve for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is truly a sense of relief to be able to say she’s gonna be able to get the vaccine, she’s gonna be like 90 percent protected,” Friedhoff told 8 On Your Side.

As soon as the CDC authorized the distribution of Pfizer doses for children ages 5 to 11, Friedhoff said she scheduled multiple appointments at local pharmacies. She wants to make sure her daughter gets her first shot by early next week.

“I’m very data-driven and that’s why I’m making this choice and I really do hope that other parents are listening and making that same choice for their children,” Friedhoff said.

But 8 On Your Side has spoken with parents who are taking a wait-and-see approach and a Kaiser Family study found most parents won’t immediately get their children vaccinated.

“I don’t want to give my kids a vaccine unnecessarily if their body can fight it off naturally,” Melissa MacKinnon said.

At Small World Pediatrics in Pasco County, Dr. Nancy Silva said the wait list for shots has been building the past month.

“We already have at least 50 people that want it like now,” she said.

Dr. Silva said she hopes her staff will start to administer shots by next Monday at the latest after the federal government’s shipment arrives Friday at the Florida Department of Health.

“They either ship it or you arrange a pick up,” Dr. Silva said, “so we opted for a pick up so we could start sooner than later.”

Dr. Silva said she is eager for her own 7-year-old daughter to get vaccinated for both the medical and social benefits.

“I also want her to go back to having fun with her friends,” she said. “I don’t want it to just be Zoom. I don’t want it to just be masked or only outdoors. I want her to have all the things she could have and not the same worries.”

Both Dr. Silva and Friedhoff said they believe it is important for children to get vaccinated to help curb community spread of the virus.

According to the CDC, the covid vaccine will continue to undergo rigorous safety monitory.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine. As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.” 

The most common side effect in the Pfizer vaccine clinical trial for children 5 to 11 was a sore arm.

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

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