Mid-South parents have mixed feelings about vaccines for young children

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, parents can bring their children to the Shelby County Health Department at 814 Jefferson Avenue to get their child vaccinated.

No appointment is needed.

Parents now have a big decision to make about whether or not to vaccinate their elementary school-aged children.

“My oldest child is vaccinated and we’re getting the nine-year-old vaccinated hopefully tomorrow,” said father of two, Jeremy Williams.

Williams says he’s wasting no time getting his nine-year-old vaccinated at their pediatrician’s office.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccines for children age 5 to 11.

“I feel like it’s the right thing to do for his health and our health, and everybody else’s health,” said Williams.

According to the CDC, in clinical trials, side effects were mild and similar to what was seen in adults with the most common side effect being a sore arm.

Memphis was one of 100 sites across the country that participated in a clinical trial of the vaccine for children.

“Certainly, the studies that we participated in have shown that the side effects are very minor. Really, we’re using the lower dose of 10 micrograms instead of the 30 micrograms used for older kids,” said Dr. Diego Hijano, an infectious disease expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

However, not all parents are convinced and say a COVID-19 vaccine is not in their child’s future.

“I don’t really see the difference between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, to be honest. People who are vaccinated still have to wear the mask. They still have to go with the same protocol with someone that is not vaccinated,” said Derek Washington.

Washington is currently homeschooling his nine-year-old daughter and says waiting for more information is the best bet for his family.

We also reached out to Shelby County Schools (SCS) who told us in a statement that the district encourages COVID-19 vaccinations among eligible students, staff, and families.

SCS is also reviewing vaccination opportunities at school sites.

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