Parents React To Possibility Of Their Kids Getting COVID Vaccine

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Parents React To Possibility Of Their Kids Getting COVID Vaccine
Parents across the country have mixed thoughts about kids getting vaccines, with some worrying about school safety.

The FDA is weighing a COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years old after advisers voted to recommend its use. 

Parents are now weighing the decision for their kids.

"I'll feel much of a relief, and I won't be as scared anymore," Asmara Sheppard said. 

The 11-year-old is looking forward to her turn to get the shot. 

"I feel very excited. Because I didn't have the vaccine, I couldn't really go to much places," she said. 

It's a moment her mom has waited for. Ivana Sheppard plans to sign Asmara up for the vaccine as soon as possible. The decision is an easy one for her; she's comfortable with the research she's done.  

"For any concerns there may be about temporary side effects from the vaccine, my concern is really the long-term impacts of COVID, which we really don't know," Sheppard said. 

The decision isn't clear-cut for other parents; some are on the fence.

"My first thought is, 'OK, now I really need to get serious about thinking about this,'" Jackie Sager said.

She said it was an easier decision for herself. She plans to sift through the information in the coming days. Sager said factors she weighs include its newness and its future. 

"Even though I read about it, I hear things about it, I just have a pause, like a gut check, like, 'Am I really sure I want to go for it or not?'" Sager said. 

Pediatricians are already having conversations in their offices. 

"Parents are rightfully asking lots of good questions about the vaccine," said Dr. Rachel Dawkins with Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. 

"Just like any medicine you give your child, any vaccine you give your child, you want to make sure it's safe and effective," Dr. Dawkins said. "They've done really great studies. As a pediatrician, we're wholeheartedly recommending the COVID vaccine."

But the vaccine is not something all parents are on board with, like Maria Canant.

"For my children, we choose to not get it right now. There's a couple factors of that. No. 1, I do think that kids need different viruses to build up strong immune systems. It's how they get through life," she said. 

There are multiple factors behind her choice. 

"For us, we don't have risk factors. Our kids aren't auto immune-compromised, and we don't have to protect them in that way," she said. 

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in September found about a third of parents of 5- to 11-year-olds responding said they would wait and see, while nearly a quarter would definitely not get the vaccine for their children. 

Next week, a CDC advisory committee is expected to meet to discuss pediatric vaccinations.