With the recent emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and up and trials underway for kids as young as 2, it’s no surprise that the choice about whether to vaccinate or not is topping the minds of parents across the Pittsburgh area.
Kids, though, are thinking about the vaccine as well. Perhaps no group has been more greatly affected by the pandemic than children, whose entire worlds were upended in an instant and understanding why was more difficult. Now, for those adolescents who are newly eligible or soon to be eligible for vaccination, some are processing their feelings about what being protected from the virus may mean for them. We were able to (virtually) chat with them about this new shift in the COVID-19 saga.
Andrew Pohland, 11, Greensburg
Andrew will turn 12 this fall, so whether or not the vaccine is approved for younger kids soon, he will quickly be eligible. His mom describes him as an empathetic kid who thinks a lot about the effects of the pandemic on his community.
The rising sixth grader talked about how sad it made him to think of people who died and didn’t get to say goodbye to their loved ones. “But the bright side is the vaccine’s coming, and we will get a chance, and that everybody who will hopefully be vaccinated will help the pandemic, like, be under control. It’s like we are putting it into a bag and closing it.
“…I really want the vaccine, but I just don’t know what the side effects are because whenever my mom got the second vaccine, she was a little drowsy so I don’t know how it will affect a kid’s body and I don’t really want anything bad to happen to anybody, so I will wait ’til I am 12 and then I will be able to do it.”
When his mom reminded him that the vaccine might be approved for younger kids before he turns 12 this fall, he was unsure that he would get it right away. “Well, the thing that I am worried about is that whenever people are 12, they can get it and their bodies are bigger, but kids that are 5? Even adults sometimes have side effects. For a kid that’s 5, that might cause an issue.” He noted that his mom’s side effects lasted only about a day, but he was really worried about her. “It still really freaked me out.”
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