RICHMOND, Va. -- Ahead of a big trip for Thanksgiving, mom Amber Manry decided to get her 10-year-old vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Community Vaccination Center at Ashe Junior Athletic Center.
Logan Manry seemed excited about the trip, but maybe even more excited to get the shot.
"I want to be able to not have to wear a mask," Logan said.
Amber said she decided Logan should get the vaccine after talking to the family's allergist.
"He said, 'I trust the vaccine more than I trust COVID.' So that was very reassuring," Amber said.
So far, over 58,000 children aged 5 to 11 in the Commonwealth have gotten their first COVID-19 shot.
"So we are just tracking a little behind where we were the first week that vaccines became available for 12-15-year-olds," Dr. Vanessa Walker Harris, Virginia's Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources, said.
- Henrico: 7.2% of children 5-11 have received first shot
- Chesterfield: 8% of children 5-11 have received first shot
- Richmond: 6.8% of children 5-11 have received first shot
Nationally, White House officials said about 900,000 kids aged 5 to 11 will have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in their first week of eligibility.
An initial surge of demand was expected, as many parents arranged for their kids to get vaccinated before the holidays. But that demand could wane, as it did for adolescents earlier in the year.
In fact, Dr. Walker Harris said some families might not be ready to jump right in.
"We expect that some families might be waiting to see what their friends and neighbors' experiences are," Walker Harris said.
A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health said three reports of side effects have been filed in Virginia in the 6-17 range since the vaccine became available to children in the 5-11 age group.
Side effects reported were tenderness, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
"We just don't really feel comfortable with our children being lab rats at this point," Ashley Gray, a Mechanicsville mom said.
Gray's seven-year-old daughter is now eligible, but she does not plan to get her the shot.
"Children have a God-given immune system from our perspective, and they just can fight things much easier than some older folks and folks with underlying conditions," Gray said.
She said her kids have gotten every vaccine their pediatrician has ever recommended, including flu shots, but Gray just does not feel comfortable with this one.
"This one is very different because there just aren't any long-term studies attached to it," Gray said.
If you're interested in getting your child vaccinated, check with your pediatricians to see if they offer it.
If not, many retail pharmacies do, and your local health department may have a Community Vaccination Center. Go to Vaccine Finder to search for locations near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Virginians age 5+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.