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UAB doctor explains the point of giving COVID vaccines to kids

Published: May. 11, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As the Pfizer vaccine becomes available to younger people, some parents are weighing whether or not it’s worth it for their children.

Right, parents want to know if kids don’t typically have bad outcomes, what’s the point?

Dr. Ellen Eaton at UAB says the point is that even though the numbers are worse for older adults, there are children who die from COVID-19 or suffer long term consequences from the virus.

“I am a parent myself, and my children are not yet eligible but as soon as they are I will be the first one to line up,” said Dr. Eaton.

She says she is confident in her decision because trials have shown the vaccines to be safe for children, and because she’s seen the negative outcomes.

“We know that thousands of children have been hospitalized with coronavirus this year and those hospitalizations, if you talk to a pediatric intensive care doc, are very scary,” said Dr. Eaton.

A condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome has been connected to COVID in kids, in which the heart, brain and other parts of the body can swell.

“It can require intensive care and a really prolonged, painful process that’s very scary for the child and their parents,” Dr. Eaton said.

Dr. Eaton wants parents to know there is still a risk of transmission, especially in older kids, and says a safe vaccine prevents the worst outcome. But she understands COVID fatigue, and has this advice:

“Please, please talk to your pediatrician,” she emphasized.

She says the doctor that knows your child will give you the best information.

In Alabama, roughly 50,000 kids under 17 have tested positive for COVID, and of those 9 have died.

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