Memphis symposium planned for kids and parents to talk about vaccines

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 4:23 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis’ Office of Youth Services is encouraging kids to get vaccinated. The City of Memphis and Shelby County Schools are planning a symposium Friday to give kids and parents information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Shelby County 46 percent of people 12 to 17 years old are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

The City of Memphis wants to see more teens get vaccinated, especially those wanting to take advantage of summer work opportunities through Memphis’ Office of Youth Services.

SCS is airing the symposium for all students.

This symposium is coming on the heels of Pfizer’s request for the FDA to give emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in kids five to 11.

The “vaccines are safe for kids,” LeBonheur Pediatrician Dr. Cynthia Cross said. “The side effects are minimal. Sometimes you’ll feel like you have a flu like illness.”

There are currently eight children at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital with COVID-19.

While, overall, COVID-19 cases continue to go down, pediatric cases still account for 30 percent of Shelby County’s active cases. On Thursday there were 823 cases in kids in Shelby County.

Ike Griffth with Memphis’ Office of Youth Services said Friday’s Hear Me Our Virtual Youth Awareness Symposium will happen at 9:01 in the morning. He said it’s important for his office to be involved because the Office of Youth Services offers opportunities for teens to get out into the community, like its summer employment program.

“Many of our businesses that we would like to send our young people to during summer months, they really want to make sure children are vaccinated,” Griffith said. “I don’t want to send a child anywhere where they can catch COVID.”

Local health leaders say approval for the vaccine in more children will help the community reach herd immunity, or 70 percent of the community vaccinated.

Currently, over half of the population has had at least one shot.

“When that portal is open and that authorization comes for five to 11-year-olds, that is a huge portion of our population and we encourage folks to take us up on that opportunity,” Memphis COO Doug McGowen said.

The FDA expects to look at Pfizer’s request as well as possible boosters for the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines this month.

Pfizer boosters for people 65 and older or with an underlying health condition are available now at dozens of providers, including the public sites and at the Shelby County Health Department. Click here for more providers.

The virtual youth awareness symposium will be streamed on the city’s website and its Youtube page on Friday October 8 at 9:01 a.m.

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