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Parents weigh vaccination options as Doctors lean towards vaccinating kids

Posted at 10:20 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 01:50:11-04

There's a lot of talk about children and COVID-19 vaccines, especially as the Delta Variant infects more children.

Some parents continue to hesitate while doctors increasingly lean more toward vaccinating children.

8-year-old Austin Holcomb has a lung condition that causes him to get sick very easily. His mother, Alexis Holcomb, is worried sick about what COVID could do to him.

“We’re talking about a child who got the flu one year and almost had to be put in an ICU. His lungs can’t take the virus," said Alexis.

The debate over vaccines for children has picked up steam as the Delta Variant infections start affecting more children and the vaccines become available for them.

"The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has recently been given emergency use authorization for children ages 12 to 15 and the prediction is that we will see authorization for children older than two to receive COVID vaccines as early as September of this year," said Dr. Christy Reisinger, an Austin-based internal medicine physician.

You may remember Dr. Reisinger, who we followed as she got her COVID shot.

When it comes to children, she understands parent's concerns about COVID vaccinations.

"As a parent myself to four children, that range in age from nine to 15 I totally get the hesitation to vaccinate against COVID-19, although I've never hesitated with any other vaccinations for my kids. They've all received their childhood vaccinations as recommended," she said.

Dr. Christy says one of the problems is heavy-handed messaging from the American Association of Pediatrics and other groups who give statistics that don't line up with most doctors' experience and are easily explained by a number of weaknesses in the data.

After careful consideration, Dr. Christy Took her children to get vaccinated. Both reported only minor side effects.

"Right after the shot, I felt a tingling feeling and then numbness in my arm, it was just on my left arm where I got this shot," said her son.

"Um, I feel good I'm just a little bit sore, a little bit more than like after a flu shot, but nothing terrible," said her daughter.

Other than arm soreness, the teenagers had no other problems.

Her daughter, on a swim team, kept practicing.

She highly recommends adults get the shots to protect their children and others.

She says a more believable message from pediatricians would help motivate more parents.

"I think their messaging should be more that this will allow their kids to return to their lives without masks, without quarantines and without social distancing," she said.

Holcomb says a talk with her doctor eased her mind that, with the vaccine, Austin can get back to the classroom with no fears from COVID.

"to where he can go back to school, and get his services. His speech, his physical therapy because you can’t really do physical therapy virtually as much as you try it’s hard,” she said.

Her two younger, healthier children will not get the vaccine, for now.

“So I felt safe not getting it for my younger ones until I knew about the side effects. For him, it's almost like life or death. I rather have the protection than not have it,” she said.

She'll continue to re-evaluate as the FDA makes tentative plans for a pediatric vaccine rollout later this year.

Dr. Christy discusses all things medical on her YouTube channel.