Nearly 1 in 4 Vermont 5-11 year olds already in line for COVID vaccine

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Eight hours after parents could begin registering their young children for the COVID-19 vaccine on a state website Wednesday, nearly a quarter of Vermont kids aged 5-11 had secured an appointment — and that does not include families who made appointments at pharmacies or pediatrician offices.

“It’s just phenomenal for the first hours of ability to register,” Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said. “And those are people of course registering on our health department website.”

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds parental attitudes about the Pfizer vaccine, which the CDC approved for younger children Tuesday, run the gamut: a third are excited; a third are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach; and a third say they won’t sign their kids up for the shots.

Last week, one Vermonter told us, the lack of research is holding her family back from getting the shot.

“Where’s the proof it works?” Chelsea Stevens said. “We had a family member who was vaccinated and still contracted COVID and was in the ICU in a different state.”

Dr. Kristen Navarette, Medical Director at MVP Health Care, plans to get her children vaccinated. She encourages everyone to at least talk about it with their doctor before deciding.

“When there’s a new vaccine, it’s normal, it’s natural to be a little bit nervous about something new,” Dr. Navarette said. “But what I would say to parents is that we have not had a vaccine that has been this well studied to date.”

Dr. Levine agrees.

“I don’t want anyone to rush their decision,” Dr. Levine said. “We’ve been very patient with the adults and had almost 50,000 more people get vaccinated since we reached the 80% and now we’re over 90%.”

Shots will be administered starting Thursday. Vermont pediatricians will also hold Zoom sessions twice weekly to answer parents’ questions about the vaccine.

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