Watch: Physician General discussing COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 through 11

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(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

HARRISBURG — On Friday, Pennsylvania Department of Health Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson led a discussion about the COVID-19 vaccine available for children ages 5 through 11.

The event was the latest in a series aimed at providing relevant and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and addressing the questions of citizens.

“The Pfizer pediatric vaccine is safe, and it is highly effective at protecting children against COVID-19-related illness, hospitalization, and death,” Dr. Johnson said. “Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is the best way to keep families and communities healthy and safe – while also keeping schools safe and open for in-person learning. To parents with a child age 5 and older, I encourage you to get them vaccinated and give your child the power to safely learn, play and be a kid.”

With parental consent, children ages 5 through 11 are able to receive the free FDA-authorized, CDC-approved and pediatrician-recommended Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at pediatrician offices, health centers, pharmacies and other healthcare provider facilities.

“With at least one quarter of all COVID-19 cases occurring in children, the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 is a huge milestone for some 28 million kids,” said Dr. Trude Haecker, president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “This vaccine provides the best protection we have against this virus. The pandemic has taken a toll not only on the physical health of children, but also on their social, developmental, and emotional health. Thankfully, this vaccine will move us closer to a return to normalcy for our children, and ensure that they can remain in school, safely. I encourage all parents and caregivers to reach out to their pediatrician or primary care provider with questions and to schedule their child’s vaccination.” 

Dr. Swathi Gowtham, a fellowship-trained specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, said parents should strongly consider having their children vaccinated to keep them safe against the coronavirus.

“The approval of the COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 through 11 assures that these children can now be offered the same level of protection against COVID-19 that has been offered to older children and adults,” said Dr. Gowtham. “The impact of COVID-19 in children should not be underestimated – around 600 American children have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of pandemic. As pediatricians, we want parents and guardians to be comfortable with the medical decisions they make for their children – please reach out to your child’s health care provider about any questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine or any other vaccine. These vaccines give us hope that families can have healthier holiday season this winter, if all those who are eligible get their COVID-19 and Influenza vaccines.” 

The panel added children ages 5 through 11 may only receive the Pfizer pediatric vaccine, while children ages 12 through 17 may only receive the Pfizer 12+ vaccine.

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