Local doctors encourage hesitant parents to get their kids vaccinated for COVID-19

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The end of the COVID-19 pandemic could soon be in sight. Doctors hope the recent approval of the pfizer vaccine for kids 12 to 15 will get us closer to herd immunity–but not all parents are ready to get their children the shot.

To ease their minds, a local pediatrician outlined the process.

While millions of Americans have been vaccinated, not everyone has been able to. But with summer ahead, teens and even pre-teens will be able to get protected from COVID.

“As parents, we don’t think they know or have enough information yet,” said Rockford resident Richard Morrison.

The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now approved for kids between the ages of 12 and 15, but not every parent is on board. As a father of four, Richard Morrison isn’t ready to rush to get his kids vaccinated quite yet.

“We’re declining all offers right now. I mean, even for ourselves, we haven’t got it. So, it seems like it’s too early,” said Morrison.

Dr. William Renk with SwedishAmerican says the side effects for kids are similar to adults and can include things like arm pain or feeling tired.

Dr. Renk understands skepticism from parents but says the only way to get back to some normalcy is to have everyone vaccinated.

“You know, the bottom line is for us to get back to normalcy and that includes vaccinations and a significant portion of the population being vaccinated and we can only get to that number with including children. I think it’s great news,” said Dr. Renk.

Renk wants people to know that while kids are low risk, they can and do die from COVID. He strongly encourages parents to have their children vaccinated.

“I think they should. I think it’s going to be well received and we need to protect the children. Even though they are at much lower risk of having severe illness, there are still children across the United States who have died, who are perfectly healthy children who have died of COVID. So we can’t let our guard down that much,” said Dr. Renk.

The Winnebago County Health Department is planning some clinics for the 12 to 15 year-olds. Pfizer is the only vaccine allowed for teens. Moderna and J&J are for 18 and up only.

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