Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. For many parents, this was the light at the end of the tunnel, with the prospect of fewer sick kids and safer schools now within reach (and endless logistical dilemmas finally in the rearview). But not all parents welcomed this news with open arms.
According to a recent survey, only 51 percent of parents of kids 5 to 11 plan to get their children vaccinated at this time. One in three parents said they will not vaccinate their children, with 18 percent saying they were unsure.
The COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 is effective and safe, say experts. But as is the case so often with parenting decisions, we don’t just listen to the experts—we want to ask other moms for their advice, too. (Remember when you wanted to introduce peanut butter to your baby and you asked your pediatrician and your bestie?). That’s why we reached out to Dr. Natasha Burgert, MD, a board-certified pediatrician based in Kansas and parent to an 11-year-old son.
“As a working pediatrician, I’ve seen too much long-Covid in kids,” Dr. Burgert tells us. “In addition to directly protecting our kids from Covid disease, this vaccine will also protect them from its devastating long-term effects.”
“My 11-year-old has spent over a year diligently wearing masks, saying ‘no’ to sleep-overs and sports teams, and showed a level of understanding and compassion beyond his years. I’m ready to give him the peace of mind and protection that this vaccine will provide, and to enthusiastically watch him get his life back to normal.”
And Dr. Burgert is not alone. Pediatricians across the country are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated. (Like this one and this one.)
“I would never recommend anything to my patients that I would not choose for my own children. In turn, I’m getting my 11-year-old vaccinated as evidence of my confidence in the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine—for my own child and the children I serve,” the pediatrician and mom explains.