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Some parents are still hesitant to vaccinate their young children, despite the urgings of most pediatricians.

NEW BRAUFELS, Texas (KXAN) – The Gardner family has learned to navigate risk and reward during the pandemic.

Andrew Gardner with his family. “We are weighing the risks and rewards of vaccination at their age,” he said of younger children. (Courtesy: Andrew Gardner)

The family, which includes six children ranging in age from 15 to infants, said they had to carefully consider every option.

“We are looking at the educational issue, the risks of going to school in person versus online – the risks of wearing a mask versus not wearing a mask,” said Andrew Gardner. “And every one of those options has pluses and minuses.”

The data scientist says his family does the same when it comes to a COVID-19 vaccine. Gardner, his wife and their older children have been vaccinated. But he says they’re in no hurry with their 6-year-old, who is now eligible for Pfizer’s lower-dose shots.

“We see the risk and reward strongly for ourselves as adults. We find risk and reward powerful for our teens. And now – given our younger children already have COVID and have natural immunity – we are weighing the risks and rewards of vaccination at their age,” explains Gardner. .

Dr. Meena Iyer, Medical Director at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin and Vice President of Clinical Affairs at UT Austin, Dell Medical School, said the kids do has some immunity after contracting COVID-19, but adds, “it’s not as strong as the immunity boost from vaccination.”

Vaccine safety

Children’s age 5 years old and up COVID-19 vaccine is now possible: the Pfizer vaccine is two doses. The second dose is recommended three weeks after the first.

According to data from the state health department, in Texas more than 12% of children Ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose of the vaccine since it was authorized last month.

But doctors are hearing from parents who are hesitant and in no hurry to get small people pictures as they did for themselves or even their teenage years.

“There is so much information out there – they are just trying to understand what is right because they are making decisions for their child. So I still get a lot of questions from parents,” Dr. Iyer explains.

Dell Children’s pediatricians and healthcare professionals recently teamed up to public education campaign encouraged parents to take their eligible children for a COVID shot saying it was safe and with very few side effects.

Dr Iyer said in the 30-second video: “Getting a child vaccinated against COVID-19 can help restore a more normal life.

Dr Iyer explains that vaccines can also provide protection when new variants such as omicrons emerge.

Impact of disease after COVID

She said as they prepared for what the holiday could bring, her team saw fewer cases. Last year, Dr. Iyer explained that Dell Children is treating 10 to 15 COVID patients a day. Now three to four people have received the virus.

“There are some children, especially those with comorbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, obesity – they can get really sick and end up in need of an ICU,” says Dr. Iyer. treated as adult patients.

She explained that although the virus in children is milder, she is worried about the rare illness after COVID, Childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. It can cause inflammation to various body parts including the heart.

Dell Children has treated 70 MIS-C patients since the beginning of the pandemic. Dr Iyer said they currently have one patient being treated.

“We still don’t know what the long-term effects of this infection are. So, since a vaccine is available and we have scientific evidence that it protects against infection, we want to make sure that everyone who is eligible is vaccinated. -please,” said Dr. Iyer. “So that’s why we’re advocating that any patient or anyone who is eligible get vaccinated.”

She also explains that the vaccine does not lead to MIS-C and that it is an infection that can cause the rare disease. She says that if a child already has COVID or MIS-C, it is still safe to get vaccinated but after a while.

Dr. Iyer’s team is looking at developing a clinic that can monitor young patients who have been discharged from a COVID-19 or MIS-C diagnosis to monitor their recovery.

She encourages parents to talk to their pediatrician if they have questions about safety and effectiveness.

She also said that families should continue to cover their faces, wash their hands and keep social distance, which she says will also help fight other viruses like the flu. This is especially true as more and more people participate in mass gatherings.

Dell Children will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the Austin Independent School District’s Performing Arts Center, which welcomes kids for a walk on Monday, December 13 between 3 and 7 p.m. and Thursday. Saturday, January 8 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The Vaccine Dilemma

In one Report released in October, researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Rutgers and Northwestern universities found in a survey in 50 states that parental concerns about vaccinations have increased “significantly” since June through September 2021. Concerns about long-term effects and whether the vaccine has been tested enough. are also considered.

“The risk-reward profile that someone has in their head, of what they are going to do for themselves, is a different model than what they have for a small child,” explains Gardner.

Andrew Gardner said during the pandemic his family has faced the risks and rewards of schools, cover-ups and now a COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy: Andrew Gardner)

He said his family all contracted COVID in August, including his wife who is giving birth to their daughter.

“We were both vaccinated and so it was pretty mild,” said Gardner. “And I certainly wouldn’t say ‘Hey, you’re vaccinated, go ahead and get a COVID shot, it’s not a big deal.’ That is a big problem. ”

He said the children eventually recovered without any complications but were still being closely monitored.

His family spoke to their pediatrician and he explained that they are currently just trying to make the best decision possible for their little one.

“I think we all need to step back and acknowledge that we are doing the best we can. No one is trying to put their child in jeopardy.” Gardner said. “[We’ll] will probably end at some point, the vaccinations, but for the young, we’ll just have to see.”

https://www.kxan.com/investigations/some-parents-still-hesitant-to-get-younger-kids-vaccinated-despite-most-pediatricians-urging/ Some parents are still hesitant to vaccinate their young children, despite the urgings of most pediatricians.

DUSTIN JONES

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