Now that Alex de Cordoba can finally get his 6-year-old daughter vaccinated against COVID-19, what are they going to do next?
“We’re going to Disneyland,” De Cordoba said.
A Laurel Canyon resident jumped at the chance to get the COVID vaccine for his oldest daughter, one of tens of millions of children nationwide to be vaccinated this week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pediatric vaccine for children 5-11. years.
While hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have dropped in Los Angeles County since their summer peak, De Cordoba was regularly reminded that the pandemic was not over, as recently as elementary school informed him that his daughter would have to be quarantined after the incident. COVID. causing them to postpone her birthday. He remains wary of travel and other potentially hazardous activities with his children as they await their chance to get vaccinated.
“As a parent, the saddest thing for me is the realization that this pandemic could have been greatly reduced when vaccines became available,” if more people had been vaccinated, said De Cordoba. “It is imperative to get vaccinated and get back to normal.”
For him and his family, this means a visit to Disneyland. For Carla Brisuela-Perez, who lives in Walnut, this means finally bringing her twin boys back to the indoor playgrounds and jungle gyms she avoided during the pandemic.
The opportunity to finally vaccinate her 6-year-old children “brings a sense of peace and comfort, and the realization that we have done everything we can to protect our families, our loved ones and our community,” said Brisuela-Perez.
And for Jennifer Arrow, this means not only specific things – dining out in restaurants with her family or visiting Chuck E. Cheese and giving pizza to children, but also removing the emotional burden of the pandemic.
“I have not trusted the world in general since the outbreak of the pandemic. It just felt like a risky place to be with other people and in particular with young children, ”said Arrow, a four-child homemaker in Culver City.
“Once the kids are vaccinated, I think I’ll feel comfortable believing that ‘normal’ is back as it is,” Arrow said.
Many parents were eager to make an appointment this week for their eligible children. Kaiser Permanente said that on Wednesday, the first day of admission, more than 67,000 vaccinations were scheduled over the next six weeks for children aged 5 to 11 in Southern California.
At Bellflower, Brianna Archer said she followed every step of the federal process to introduce pediatric vaccinations closely, so her 6-year-old daughter once remarked about the vaccinations: “We won’t know until November. 2nd, that’s when they meet! ”
At CVS, she signed up for vaccinations for both of her children. Children may not be at “huge COVID risk,” Archer said, but “if they don’t have to suffer, I have to take advantage of it.” She is looking forward to going with them to visit her mother in Ohio.
Young children have a lower risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 than adults, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics from most states, with 0% to 0.03% of deaths among children.
However, this made COVID-19 comparable to the eighth leading cause of death among children ages 5-11 for the year ended October 2, with 66 deaths nationally reported during that time, based on CDC analysis comparing mortality data for 2019. Children can also suffer from “long-term COVID,” in which symptoms persist for months, including fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and muscle and joint pain.
Children make up a growing proportion of coronavirus cases as older adults have been able to get vaccinated, with children aged 5 to 11 accounting for more than 10% of coronavirus infections at the beginning of October, even though they accounted for only 8.7% of the U.S. population.
The rapid spread of the Delta variant resulted in a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for children and adolescents in the country in August, making the development of a pediatric vaccine even more urgent. Health officials say vaccinating children will not only protect them from serious illness, but also limit its spread and mutation, and help suppress or prevent the fifth wave of the virus this winter.
National polls show that parents are divided over vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11: while 27% of parents surveyed said they would get them vaccinated right away, 33% said they would “wait and see,” and 30% said that be sure to get vaccinated. do not take pictures of their children, as recent studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation have shown. About 5% said they would only vaccinate their children if needed.
“Not every vaccinated parent is going to vaccinate their child, but I think parents who choose to vaccinate for themselves are more likely to be convincing when it comes to their children,” said Liz Hamel, vice president. President and Director of Opinion Research and Polling, Kaiser Family Foundation.
Laura Powell said she and her husband were “first in line” to get themselves COVID-19 vaccines, but she gave up on the idea of mandatory vaccinations for her 5- and 9-year-old boys who go to school in Pleasant Hill in County of Contra Costa. In a letter to federal regulators, she said they could not agree to expose their children to “unknown risks to their health for an infinitesimal benefit.”
“We just hope there is enough security data before any mandate is issued,” Powell said.
The CDC recommended vaccines for children, stating that they are safe and effective, and in clinical trials, vaccine side effects were “mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children.”
“The most common side effect was pain in the arm,” the agency said this week. “COVID-19 vaccines have passed and will be subject to the most intense safety monitoring in US history.”
Dr. Lucio Loza, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Ana, said it is “perfectly understandable for people to hesitate” when it comes to their children.
But “the science is solid,” and clinical trials for young children have been very successful, Lohse said.
“Considering how many vaccines have been introduced around the world – and now there are billions of them – I am very comfortable getting the vaccine, promoting the vaccine and giving the vaccine to my friends and my family – and everyone else. the ones I love the most are my children, ”said Loza, whose 7- and 11-year-old sons were vaccinated on Thursday at Kaiser Permanente in Tustin.
Despite such assurances, more than three-quarters of parents surveyed said they were very or somewhat concerned that not enough is known about the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on children, the Kaiser Family Foundation found. Almost the same – 71% – said they feared their child could have serious side effects from the vaccine.
Granada Hills resident Rostom Sargsyan left his young daughters to attend online classes amid concerns over COVID-19. He is vaccinated and has encouraged others in his family to get vaccinated.
But Sargsyan plans to postpone vaccinations until January or February to vaccinate his 5-year-old and 7-year-old child if the number of coronavirus cases does not reach high levels this winter, saying he wants to see data on side effects after more. children. shots. He hopes that after being vaccinated, he will be able to stop the “ongoing risk assessment” about their family visit.
Nicole Rick, from Oceanside in San Diego County, said she is not against vaccinations in general, but cites the novelty of the COVID-19 vaccine, which forces her to discreetly vaccinate her 5-year-old daughter.
She and her husband have not yet been vaccinated. “I want to get more data from long-term studies on side effects, how effective they are over long periods of time,” said Rick. “And I’ve always been more careful with what I give my kids.”
In Orange County, Dr. Keith Williamson said she was reassuring parents concerned about long-term effects that when the vaccine is given, “the particles that are put into the body, causing the immune system to create this army, literally disappear in a matter of days.”
For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the messenger RNA “is really a messenger telling the body, ‘Hey, you have to build this army,’ and then that messenger dissolves,” said Williamson, a pediatrician at Providence Mission Hospital in Orange County. “And you still have a smarter immune system, because now it was warned about it.”
Kaiser Family Foundation polls show that in addition to concerns about vaccine exposure, some parents also worried about getting their children vaccinated. More than a third said they were concerned about taking time off from work to vaccinate their children or take care of them if they experience side effects.
A quarter of parents said they were concerned that they might have to pay in cash, even if the vaccine is free to the public. Surveys have shown that these fears are much more common among low-income parents than among wealthier ones.
As the most impatient parents start making appointments to vaccinate their children, some are hoping that vaccinations could ease other COVID restrictions on children, such as disguise at school. Kim Silverstein, who scheduled vaccinations for her 11-year-old son on Thursday, said she hopes LA Unified will expand its mandate to vaccinate children ages 5-11 by spring break.
“If 100% of the students and adults in the school were completely vaccinated, then I could see the exposure in the school become a reality,” said Silverstein.
Times authors Rong-Gong Lin II and Lucas Mani contributed to this report.