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UVA Health Experts encouraging parents to get their 12+ children the COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jun. 13, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Doctors at the University of Virginia’s Medical Center are continuing to encourage all kids ages twelve and up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are aware of at least four million cases of COVID around the country in the pediatric populations, it’s likely an underrepresentation of the true number of children that have been infected,” UVA Pediatric Infection Disease Specialist Dr. Debbie-Ann Shirley said.

She says the proportion of COVID-19 cases in children is rising.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, most of our kids were safely sheltered at home and so we didn’t actually see a lot of cases and now, I would say, pediatric cases account for maybe like 17-22% of the cases that we’re seeing weekly so the case numbers have certainly increased,” Dr. Shirley said.

Now that children ages twelve and over are able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, health professionals say it is important to take advantage of the opportunity.

“The vaccines appears to be highly efficacious in in pediatric populations in stimulates strong immunogenicity in children, similar to what we see in young adults,” Shirley said.

One of the most common questions parents ask is about the possible side effects their children could experience.

“Some pain at the injection site and then sort of systemic side effects might include a headache and fatigue, but they all appear to be quite brief and resolved within a day or two,” Shirley said.

UVA’s Dr. Costi Sifri says parents who do have questions or concerns surrounding getting their children vaccinated shouldn’t stay silent.

“I just encourage conversations with your pediatrician, your family physician,” he said. “Have those conversations about COVID vaccination, get your questions answered.”

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