Parents share mixed emotions after CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for kids 5-11

Children ages 5-11 can now get the vaccine

HOUSTON – Not all parents are ready for their child to be vaccinated, despite the first shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination being administered to children ages 5-11 on Wednesday.

“I’m real protective of my little one,” said Jennifer Burger, mother of a 6-year-old boy, adding that protection means her child won’t be getting a shot just yet. “I’m a little skeptical just because the older people that got it, or around our age, they got sick,” Burger said.

Burger said she planned to wait before taking her child to receive a shot. 

Parents on the other side of the debate said vaccinations are a must in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

“They must take the vaccine. I’ve always believed in science and we all should believe in science,” said parent, Abraham Ghassani.

Houston area school districts said they are following the science as well, but are not requiring vaccinations among those who qualify at the moment.

Both Fort Bend ISD and Alief ISD told KPRC 2 Wednesday they encourage vaccinations, pointing to district-hosted vaccination clinics to increase access.

Heart health is a concern among some parents and the rare risk of Myocarditis or heart inflammation among young men after their second dose.

Dr. Stanley Spinner, vice president and chief medical officer at Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care, said there’s a much greater risk if not vaccinated.

“In that 5-11-year-old age group, with the studies that have not been reported. So at this point, we have not seen myocarditis in that age group,” Dr. Spinner said.

It is a very rare risk, agreed Dr. Keith Jensen, regional director of pediatric emergency medicine at HCA Houston Healthcare.

“Because it’s so rare, the benefit of getting the vaccination for our adolescent patients, as well as our 5-11-year-old patients, far outweighs many of the risks,” Dr. Jensen said.

Dr. Jensen urged parents who remain unsure to consult their child’s pediatrician as they make their decision.

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Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.