By Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, encouraged parents who have concerns to talk to their doctor and continue to vaccinate this population.
"We encourage people to talk to their pediatricians and ask them their questions, so they can vaccinate their children with confidence and peace of mind," Dr. Ghaly said during a media session held by Ethnic Media Services.
The expert recalled that the decision by the agencies came after several months of studies and trial data that included more than 4,000 children between 5 and 11 years of age, to ensure the appropriate dose for this population group.
He also explained that the dose for adults, in the case of the Pfizer vaccine, which is authorized for children between 5 and 11 years of age, is two doses of 30 micrograms each, while for the youngest eligible group it is two doses of 10 micrograms each.
"So, of the dose that adults are getting, it's only a third, even of what adolescents 12 to 17 years old are getting. It's a lower dose in the formulation, and it's available specifically for this 5- to 11-year-old population," he stressed.
He reaffirmed that the studies that have been conducted to prove that the vaccine is safe and effective at that dose have been robust.
"The data came together quickly to address this important pandemic. Recognizing that vaccines are the path to greater safety for Californians under 5 to 11 years of age . They represent 9 percent of our population."
In that sense, he detailed that this group has the opportunity to obtain the same protection that many older Californians have had for several months, which has allowed them to protect and keep their communities safe.
Dr. Mark Ghaly noted that three of his children are under the age of 12, and not a single person in his household is without their first dose. "Half of us are fully vaccinated. The other half are getting vaccinated, are fully vaccinated or have received their first dose of the two-vaccine series."
He further emphasized that vaccination of this age group follows hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 positive cases among young people, "60,000 children ages 5 to 11 have been hospitalized in our nation, and we have lost more children to COVID than to other vaccine-preventable diseases."
"Any death of a young person is unacceptable if it is preventable, so we must use this tool not only to protect our communities."
He stressed that more is being learned every day about the long-term effects of long-term COVID-19 in young people, "so, if we have the opportunity to prevent an infection in this 5- to 11-year-old category with the vaccine, and we're excited to continue to encourage people, the caregivers of young people, to go ahead and get vaccinated as soon as they can."
The doctor explained that all those who decide to vaccinate their children against influenza can do so, since there is no reason or motive for not doing so, even on the same day that the vaccine against COVID-19 is administered.
"Now they certainly can, there's no reason they can't and a lot of practices are encouraging people to get them together. Although we hope, you know, it's no different than other vaccines that young people get, they might have some arm soreness. They may have some mild symptoms, and some people may have mild fever with vaccines, but these are not reasons not to get vaccinated."
"We encourage people to talk to their pediatricians, to their family, health care professionals, physicians, ask their questions. And if they can, and we think it's safe, go ahead and get the flu vaccine and COVID together."
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