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Pediatrician reacts to parents’ hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 and under

Pandemic fatigue and COVID-19 vaccines for kids
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:04 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More local kids under 5 are rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but some shots will go unused because of concerns from parents.

Nathan Price MD, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Arizona, Banner University Medical Center, said some parents have been waiting years to get the green light to vaccinate their children and others are uncomfortable vaccinating their kids yet or at all.

“There’s a lot of pandemic fatigue at this point in time. A lot of people have made it through unscathed, but a lot of people have not,” said Price.

Misinformation about both the virus and the vaccine has been a big part of the pandemic. Price said he’s heard concerns about long-term effects of the vaccine from parents. Other parents said their children have already had COVID-19 and the symptoms were similar to a cold.

When looking at the risk of getting a bad case of COVID-19 and the risk of a bad reaction to the vaccine, Price said there is less risk in getting the shot.

“If you’re looking at things like risk, on one hand, you have risk with the vaccine and on the other, you have risk with the disease. If you look at the numbers out there and you want to avoid risk for your child, the better way to do it is to get the vaccine,” Price said. “We don’t know those numbers for the really really young ones but I don’t see any reason why they would be any different based on the response from the vaccine and the disease in older children and seeing how the vaccine itself is affecting younger children.”

The fact is, while it is rare, COVID-19 has killed kids. Price said there are children in the hospital today fighting for their lives after getting COVID-19.

He says it’s best to call your child’s pediatrician to discuss concerns and see if they have doses available.

“We don’t know for sure the long-term effects of these vaccines in people, and we won’t know that until we get 20 years down the road,” Price said. “The data that’s out there shows the vaccines are very safe, but yes, you are going to find some people that don’t do well with them but those are few and far in between.”

The Arizona Health Department Vaccine Finder will be updated to include the vaccination locations locally.

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