Many parents still unsure about letting their kids get the COVID vaccine

MADISON, Wis. — Even before the FDA announced the emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s vaccine for 12-15-year-olds, pediatricians were fielding a lot of questions from parents about the vaccine.

Dr. Joseph McBride, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UW Health, said parents have concerns about efficacy.

He said parents are asking, “How do we know it’s going to work? Is it going to be worse than the virus itself? What are the side effects of it, what are the long term side effects of it?”

McBride said the vaccine has been proven to be effective and safe in kids.

“This has been evaluated on tens of thousands of people, and then now given to tens of millions of people,” said McBride.

He said getting 12-15-year-olds vaccinated is the best way to get us all back to normal and allow kids to be kids again.

“Classrooms won’t have to shut down, those daycares won’t have to close, the sports teams can still participate if people are vaccinated in this age group,” said McBride. “For the child themselves to be able to participate in sports or play in the band, or not have the guilt associated with doing something that they should be doing on a daily basis I think will be a huge relief.”

But a quick poll on our Facebook page shows there are still parents who aren’t sure if their kids should get a shot.

For a more scientific look at how parents feel, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a national poll last week. It shows about 30% of parents said they would get their child vaccinated right away. About a third said they’d wait awhile. And about 20% said they definitely wouldn’t get their child vaccinated.

McBride knows pediatricians have their work cut out for them convincing many parents that it’s safe.

“There will be a group of people that no matter what we do, no matter what we say, it’s just going to be hard to convince them. And then there’s that subset of people that aren’t complete vaccine refusalists, but vaccine hesitant. And that’s the target population that we really have to focus our time and energy on and I think we have a lot of success with winning them over,” said McBride.

He encourages any parents who have questions about the vaccine to reach out to their pediatrician. Doctors are happy to answer your questions.