Pa. Dept. of Health holds discussion on COVID-19 vaccinations for kids age 5 through 11

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) held a discussion on Nov. 12, led by Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, about the COVID-19 vaccine being available now for children ages 5-11.

“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.”

Joining Dr. Johnson in the discussion were President of the PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics and General Pediatrician from Philadelphia Dr. Trude Haecker and also board-certified and fellowship-trained specialist in pediatric infectious diseases from Danville Dr. Swathi Gowtham.

Both pediatricians are well versed in childhood vaccinations.

“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,” Dr. Gowtham said. “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.” 

Dr. Haecker says how huge of a milestone it is that kids ages 5-11 can now receive the vaccination.,

“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,” Dr. Haecker said. “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.” 

The panel noted that kids ages 5-11 can only receive the Pfizer pediatric vaccine and that children ages 12-17 can receive the Pfizer 12+ vaccine.

Parents must give consent for their child, age 5-11, to receive the pediatrician-approved Pfizer COVID_19 vaccine at pediatrician offices, health centers, pharmacies, and other healthcare provider facilities.

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