WVPA Sharing

Pediatrician: COVID vaccine offers hope for normalcy and freedom to families in West Virginia

Pediatricians across state offering their opinions on COVID vaccinations for children 5 to 11 years of age

WV Press News Sharing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Pediatrician Rebecca Furby says the Pediatric COVID Vaccine now approved for children 5 to 11 years of age offers a hope for normalcy and freedom to families in West Virginia.

“As our state is a hard-working state that loves to enjoy the freedoms that we can in the country and keeping it wild and wonderful, it’s important to be able to maintain our job security to allow us to do that. And so ensuring that our kids can stay in school is so important. That’s what the vaccine is allowing us to have: a little bit more freedom or returning back to that normalcy that we are hoping to gain again….” said Dr. Rebecca Furby, a pediatrician in Spring Mills, West Virginia.

Dr. Rebecca Furby

Supplies of the Pediatric COVID Vaccine will be available in West Virginia this week. To help parents who are trying to decide whether to get their children vaccinated against COVID, pediatricians across the state are sharing their thoughts on the safety and need for the vaccine. Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources asked local pediatricians to share their opinion on the vaccination as the state’s Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) begins distributing and administering doses of the vaccine across the state for children ages 5 to 11.

Dr. Furby advises parents to get their children vaccinated.

“I would definitely recommend, or advise, our patients and their families to be fully vaccinated,” Dr. Furby said. “And this vaccine … is help to ensure that our patients, which is our pediatric population, is able to go back to a normal routine and do it in a safe way. So yes, I would highly advise those who are eligible, so now, as of yesterday, as young as 5 years of age, to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Rebecca Furby

Furby feels the vaccines are safe for children.  She said the vaccine has been tested and that the vaccine reduces the high risk of kids getting a serious illness, or of COVID spreading from the school children into other members of the family or the household.

“This vaccine decreases the risk of you getting a severe illness and having to be pulled from daycare, having to be pulled from work to take care of your loved ones …,” Furby said.  

The CDC now recommending Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for use by children ages 5 to 11 years. This week, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible. 

The CDC released the following information: COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalizations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes) and long-term complications, such as “long COVID,” in which symptoms can linger for months. The spread of the Delta variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases in children throughout the summer. During a 6-week period in late June to mid-August, COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and adolescents increased fivefold.

Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19 using the safe and effective vaccines already recommended for use in adolescents and adults in the United States. Similar to what was seen in adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. 

In terms of testing for safety, CDC officials said COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. “Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reducing their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications. Getting your children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19, as well as reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission,” CDC officials said.

To locate upcoming vaccination clinics, parents can check with their local pharmacy, pediatrician, community newspaper, county health department or visit DHHR.WV.gov

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