OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Beginning Saturday, Nov. 6, Children’s Mercy Hospital will offer Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children between the ages of five and 11. The Kansas City, Missouri-based pediatric hospital had previously been offering the vaccine to children ages 12 to 17 and to adults up to age 22.
Vaccinations are by appointment only. Saturday’s vaccine clinic is completely booked. Parents can reserve a spot for their children in future clinics by visiting Children’s Mercy’s website.
“For each age group we get to add to be vaccinated, we protect that age group,” explained Dr. Angela Meyers, Children’s Mercy Hospital’s director of the division of infectious diseases. “We also protect the people around them in their family unit and family bubble. We know from other diseases like influenza, if you vaccinate the young child, you prevent disease in grandma and grandpa.”
During a press event Tuesday, pediatricians encouraged parents to sign up for the vaccine saying they trust the federal government’s review process and that there is no proof of long-term side effects from the vaccine. Meyers pointed out children are more at risk of getting myocarditis from COVID-19 than from the vaccine.
Doctors had this message for parents who wanted to do more research before having their children receive the vaccine.
“The biggest thing is to have factual information in front of them. With all the misinformation that’s floated around throughout this pandemic, that can be very hard to find. I do believe your pediatrician, your family care doctor is the best source for that information,” said Dr. Jennifer Watts, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
She encouraged parents to first try to get the vaccine with their child’s pediatrician instead of a mass vaccination clinic or retail pharmacy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s vaccine for children in the five to 11 age group Tuesday. The pharmaceutical company said clinical trials show the vaccine was 90% effective in preventing symptoms from COVID-19.