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As COVID vaccine approval for tots nears, parents left with decision

As COVID vaccine approval for tots nears, parents left with decision
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 18:15:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- An F.D.A. advisory panel has recommended both Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccines for young children.

Children younger than five are the only group in the U.S. that remains ineligible to get vaccinated.

Once this vaccine is available, parents will have to decide if they want their child to get the shot and which one they'll choose.

Ricardo Harvey says he wants his four-year-old twin daughters, Asia and London, to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"This is not going anywhere," Harvey said. "If you're not vaccinated, you're not going to be prepared and I want my kids to be prepared for the next step, for whatever comes up."

Elaine Allen, another Richmond parent, feels differently, saying she and her family have weighed their options.

"It's not something I'm willing to give my kids, given the risk of COVID-19 at this point," she said.

Suzanne Lavoie, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert at VCU, says vaccinating this age group will help keep other vulnerable populations safe.

"Kids don't live in a vacuum," Lavoie said. "They often times live with various generations of families, family members who may have other illnesses or diseases that make them at higher risk."

If a vaccine is authorized, the Richmond-Henrico Health District is ready. Thousands of COVID-19 vaccines for children could be available as early as next week.

"We do not expect there to be a significant lag time," said Catherine Long, a representative with the health district. "Certainly nothing like what we've seen throughout the course of the pandemic and early in the stages of vaccinations, where people had to get on waiting lists and wait a long time. We do not anticipate those sorts of holdups to happen at all."

RHHD offers a program called "Doses on Demand," which could help busy parents get their children vaccinated if needed.

"You give us a call and we schedule a time to literally come to you to offer you your vaccine. So we can do these at-home vaccinations, which might be really great for parents who are really busy, who have multiple children, who have either childcare issues or transportation issues," Long said. "The program is available to everyone."

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