Local parents, experts weigh in on COVID-19 vaccine for young kids

Coronavirus

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — We are now more than six months into the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Nevada, but the shots are still not available for young kids.

Right now, only those ages 12 and older can get the vaccine. It is still unclear when younger kids will be able to receive theirs.

Experts say it is important that they do, but parents who spoke to 8 News Now are split.

“They’re not protected yet,” said Las Vegan Diego Trujillo.

His two sons are 6 and 9-years-old. Neither has gotten the vaccine since it has not been approved yet for those under the age of 12.

“With the spike in the new variants and everything that’s occurring, that’s kind of been one of my biggest concerns,” Trujillo told us.

Diego Trujillo and his sons (Provided)

That is why he cannot wait until his sons get their shot.

“It’ll bring a large relief for me, when I’m finally able to get them vaccinated,” Trujillo said.

Other parents are planning to wait. Las Vegan Michelle Balan has an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old.

Michelle Balan and her son and daughter (Provided)

“I just don’t think there’s enough data to be able to look at any short-term or long-term effects, especially when it comes to our children,” she said.

Right now, scientists are studying the vaccine’s impact on young kids.

“Those clinical trials give us the information on the safety and efficacy,” said infectious disease epidemiologist Brian Labus.

Diego Trujillo’s sons (Provided)

Labus, who is also an assistant professor at the UNLV School of Public Health, says getting kids immunized will help our fight against the coronavirus, especially in light of lagging vaccination rates in Nevada.

“We want a significant proportion of our total population protected against COVID, so if the disease is spreading, it can’t spread through any of those children,” he explained.

For those over age 12, there have been some cases of Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) after getting the vaccine, particularly in boys and young men. But again, it is rare, and experts say the cases are mild.

“The risk is much lower of getting it from the vaccine than if you were infected naturally,” Labus shared.

Many parents say they are ready to weigh the risks and benefits.

“I really want to see these vaccines come through,” Trujillo said. There is no definitive timeline for when the vaccine trials for young kids will be complete. According to Pfizer’s website, they hope to submit the vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization sometime in September or October.

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