Some parents ready to vaccinate their kids younger than 5
Salt Lake City – Parents who are eager to get their kids under five years old vaccinated for COVID-19 may be able to plan that shot by the end of the month. Meantime, the omicron surge appears to be changing some minds about vaccination.
Pfizer is seeking emergency use authorization for its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine for children ages six months to five years.
In two weeks, the FDA vaccine advisory board will weigh safety and efficacy data, before making a decision.
“The parents that want it are going to jump on it really quick because they’ve been waiting for it,” said Lee Cherie Booth, RN, an immunization nurse supervisor with the Salt Lake County Health Department. “Getting the children is really key to our community in reaching herd immunity with as little mortality as possible.”
Booth said many parents have been hoping to get their youngest kids vaccinated for several months, and they’ve been asking for it.
“We have had lots of parents come to our outreach and inquire when are the younger kids going to be able to get it? I can’t wait, or we need this to happen.”
Right now, in Utah, nearly 23.5% of kids ages five to 11 are fully vaccinated, and 32.2% have received at least one dose.
“Omicron has resulted in a lot of hospitalizations for children under five. So, we’ve seen that increase. So, it’s really important that we try to get those individuals vaccinated,” Booth said.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports it has seen a 12% rise in the percentage of parents willing to get their kids vaccinated since November. But, the younger the kids, the higher the percentage of hesitant parents. Nearly 25% do not plan to get their kids vaccinated, while 30% hope to get it done as soon as it’s available.
“There are a lot that are still a little hesitant to get it,” The immunization nurse supervisor said. “Our role is to try to educate as much as possible. And, sometimes it takes a couple of times.”
The FDA vaccine advisory board plans to meet Feb. 15 to review the data and weigh a decision on the emergency use authorization.
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How do I prevent it?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
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