CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Geisinger Gray’s Woods in Centre County began giving out doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to children age six months to four years for the first time on Tuesday.
On June 18, the CDC approved COVID-19 vaccinations for young children who are at least 6 months old. While recent polls show that many parents are hesitant to get their children vaccinated, doctors understand their concerns.
“They’re wondering about vaccine safety,” said Dr. David Coggins, a staff pediatrician at Geisinger Gray’s Woods. “Of the millions of doses that have been given, you know, in the US, the safety profile for the Pfizer vaccine is very good.”
On Tuesday, 3-year-old Zachary Seprish received his first dose.
“There’s so many things as a parent that you can’t control, but we try to control the things we can,” Zachary’s mom, Mary Beth Seprish said.
Mary Beth said she researched the vaccine before making Zachary’s official appointment.
“I had hopes that we would be able to get him vaccinated, Seprish said. “But we of course always wanted to see the data to make sure that it was safe for him and that we weren’t putting him at higher risk for something.”
Zachary is preparing to enter preschool this fall and getting the vaccine has taken a weight off of Mary Beth’s shoulders.
“It means that when he goes to preschool, I don’t have to worry about him being exposed and needing to take two weeks off, which means that I have to take two weeks off then to keep him at home with me,” Seprish said.
Dr. Coggins stressed the importance of the vaccine for children in this age group.
“Most children have fairly mild symptoms, but even then they’re contagious,” Dr. Coggins said. “The vaccine is certainly a way of helping to prevent serious illness from happening and keeping families healthy for longer.”
Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter
On the first day of administering this specific dose at the Gray’s Woods location, Geisinger had over 45 pediatric patients on the schedule.
“We are having COVID vaccine clinics twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that can be scheduled through Central Scheduling or online through the MyGeisinger application,” Dr. Coggins said.
Mary Beth said as much as receiving the vaccine will protect Zachary, the decision was made with his community in mind.
“We wanna protect our friends and neighbors,” Seprish said. “We wanna protect those around us so that hopefully we can get past this.”