Parents remain hesitant to vaccinate children under five despite CDC’s approval

CDC approves vaccine for children under five-years-old but parents remain hesitant.
COVID-19 vaccine doses approved for young kids
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 11:28 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Nearly 18 million babies, toddlers and preschoolers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer and Moderna are both offering the COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six-months-old. Both vaccines vary in strength and the way its administered, according to the Center for Disease Control.

CDC officials said they worked over the holiday weekend to get both vaccines approved.

CBS46 took a closer look at how the virus has impacted young children in Georgia since the start of the pandemic to give parents more insight.

The latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health shows, that since the start of the pandemic five children less than 12 months old have died of COVID-19, seven died who were between the ages of one and four and five died between the ages of five and nine.

CDC experts said, nationwide less than a third of the children ages five through eleven have gotten vaccinated since they were approved for it back in November.

The ongoing nationwide hesitancy among parents is still causing concern for health experts.

“More than 1,000 kids have died, about 440 under the age of four. We have seen tens of thousands of hospitalizations in this age segment. And this isn’t a benign illness in a lot of kids,” Former FDA Commissioner and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.

Some parents like Avani Mohapatra said they are relieved, “We’re super psyched, super thrilled they can get vaccinated.”

Other parents said they are still not convinced that the vaccine is the best option for this age group.

“Right now, people don’t understand what the vaccine is about, and to give it to children under five, I don’t think it’s the right move,” another parent said.

In a recent survey from Kaiser Permanente less than 20 percent of American parents said they would have their child vaccinated immediately, 27 percent said no to the vaccine completely, and 40 percent said they wanted to wait and see how other children react first.

“Yes, the data may change. But we have a bottom line here, which is that this infection kills children and we have an opportunity to prevent that,” CDC Advisory Committee member Dr. Beth Bell said.

Health experts said it’s best to consult your pediatrician before vaccinating your child and local parents said to make sure you also do your own homework first.

“I would have to do a lot of research because if kids get sick it would be horrible,” another local parent said.

The Biden administration has been allowing states, local public health agencies and pharmacies to preorder millions of doses for weeks and now parents can make appointments.