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As a COVID-19 vaccine inches closer to approval for young kids, why are some parents hesitant about this vaccine and not others?

A Food and Drug Advisory Panel endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11 Tuesday in a 17-1 vote.

CLEVELAND — A COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 is one step closer to approval. 

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel endorsed the Pfizer vaccine Tuesday, making the next step a final approval from the agency.

For some parents, it’s still too soon to agree to vaccinate their kids.

“Are you vaccinated,” 3News asked Christina Clark, a mother of three. 

“Yes, ma'am, I am,” Clark responded.

A vaccine for those 12 and up has been in play for months. 

The Ohio Department of Health website indicates nearly 6.5 million Ohioans have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. But for young kids ages 5 to 11, the decision for parents to allow the shot remains unsettling.

“I have an almost two-year-old, a six-year-old, and a seven-year-old and I will not be getting them vaccinated right now,” Clark said.

3News spoke to Clark at random in a grocery store parking lot about her hesitation, especially since she's been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I don't think there is enough research out there right now",” Clark told 3News.

Clark said she has been vaccinating her children against the flu since their birth.

“Why a flu shot and why not a COVID-19 vaccine?” 3News asked.

“Um, you do have a point there,” Clark responded. “COVID is still so new and, like, every day we are learning more and more things about it.”

3News talked with parents who never hesitated about a vaccine for their kids, even enrolling them in the vaccine trials.

One local pediatrician, Dr. Shelly Senders, has been part of all COVID-19 vaccine trials.

“We continue to be involved in the Pfizer studies,” Dr. Senders said.

With the FDA panel endorsing the Pfizer vaccine for the youngest age group thus far, 3News spoke with Senders about pros and cons parents on the fence should consider.

“Does COVID cause problems for most children? The answer is no but tell that to the parents of children who are fighting for their lives as we speak,” Dr. Senders said.

Senders also had a message to the parents who question what some call a "fast-paced" timeline for vaccine approval.

“What’s happened in this trial is everything has been done in real time,” the doctor said. “What has changed is less about the monitoring and more about how quickly things get done. To me, it's a very fine line to making people too worried and making people not worried enough.”

Senders told 3News he believes getting more children vaccinated will be an educational journey, similar to what we've seen in other age groups, as more continue to vaccinate.


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