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3 Parents on Why They Got Their Kids Vaccinated

Child receiving a COVID vaccine.

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Key Takeaways

  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available for all children ages five and up.
  • Many parents are eager to secure vaccine appointments for their children.
  • Parents are getting their kids vaccinated to protect them as well as loved ones from severe COVID-19 illness and hospitalization.

In the two weeks since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave emergency use authorization to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11, nearly one million children have under 12 have gotten vaccinated according to White House estimates.

Many parents had been waiting for this day and are now jumping on the opportunity to get their kids vaccinated.

According to the FDA, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5 through 11. The vaccine safety and efficacy were studied in 3,100 children who received the vaccine. No serious side effects were reported in the study.

Based on these results, public health experts are encouraging parents to consider getting their children vaccinated.

“As a mother and physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization," Janet Woodcock, MD, acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, said in a press release. "Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy. Our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data pertaining to the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness should help assure parents and guardians that this vaccine meets our high standards.” 

What This Means For You

Because the availability of the vaccines varies by provider and state, experts recommend consulting with your child’s healthcare provider. COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge no matter your or your child's immigration or health insurance status.

Parents Are Eager to Get Kids Vaccinated

Roopa Kalyanaraman, MPH, CPH, a public health policy and communications expert in New York City and mother of an eight-year and five-year-old, was eager to get her kids their shots.

“Both of my kids got the first dose of the vaccine this past weekend so pretty much right away as soon as it was available,” Kalyanaraman told Verywell.

One of the main drivers for Roopa to get her kids vaccinated was seeing the impact that it had on her children’s mental health and education.

Research shows that remote learning was associated with greater mental health impairment among children aged four through 17, especially among Black and Hispanic children and children from low-income households.

“Children have been affected the most. They’re not having playdates inside with their friends. And so myself, and many of my friends were eagerly awaiting the day the vaccines would be available for our kids,” she said. “And so for me, many parents that I know who got their children vaccinated, it was a very easy decision because that risk is nearly gone and we just have a better peace of mind.” 

This sentiment was also shared by Melissa Hoelscher, an office manager at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda law firm based in Texas, and her husband Joseph. As a mother of three children, Melissa and Joseph Hoelscher were excited about the idea that their kids could be protected against the virus so they jumped at the opportunity to get their kids vaccinated. 

Witnessing their family members become hospitalized as a result of experiencing severe COVID-19 served as a catalyst for this decision. Hoelscher wanted her kids to get vaccinated to not only protect her children’s health and safety but to protect vulnerable family members, too. 

“My nephews and uncle were both hospitalized. My father-in-law also had a lot of heart issues,” Hoelscher told Verywell. “Thinking about getting to be around them or keeping them safe was super important.”

Coupled with the fear of the possibility of her kids getting severely ill from COVID, Hoelscher worried about potential transmission in their schools.

“Here in Texas, there’s been a lot of back and forth with mask mandates and that made us very nervous when they were going back to school,” Hoelscher said. “So knowing that they would have a little more protection made me feel better about it.” 

While vaccinating children has largely been up to parents, Hoelscher made sure her kids’ vaccination status was contingent upon their consent.

“My kids really wanted to be vaccinated too," she said. "They were going through all the distance learning, being at home, and not seeing their friends, they’re tired of it and I knew that. If they really wanted it, I wouldn’t deny them. So, we had talked about it months before it was available, and they already made it clear to me that they would want to have it whenever it became available.” 

Hoelscher worked proactively to get her ten-year-old and two eight-year-old twins enrolled in the Moderna clinical trials. “The study we were in, we couldn’t volunteer our children without them also wanting to be a part of it,” she said.

Today, Hoelscher’s daughters are fully vaccinated and her son has received his first dose. Kalyanaraman’s two kids have also received their first doses. 

“For us, there’s no fear here because we feel safer now that our kids have some type of immunity," Joseph Hoelscher told Verywell. "That peace of mind is out there for anybody who wants it. All they have to do is go get vaccinated."

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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  1. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA Authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age. Updated October 29, 2021. 

  2. Hawrilenko M, Kroshus E, Tandon P, Christakis D. The Association Between School Closures and Child Mental Health During COVID-19 [published correction appears in JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Sep 1;4(9):e2132935]. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2124092. Published 2021 Sep 1. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.24092