Pediatricians hope COVID-19 vaccinations in children will encourage use of more vaccines

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Pediatricians will have their hands full in the coming weeks and months as they work to vaccinate young teens from the coronavirus.

The FDA granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 earlier this week. Doctors are hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccines will encourage parents to have their children vaccinated against other illnesses.

Dr. Faisal Mawri, a pediatrician in Flint Township, has already been inundated with calls for appointments to get the vaccine. He’s had to create a waiting list because he doesn’t have any Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses on hand yet.

“This is the way to return to normalcy, and it’s extremely effective and safe,” Mawri said.

He dedicated a section of his building just to administering the vaccine. There will be a separate entrance so there’s no risk of exposing other patients who might be sick.

“We have staff who are trained specifically for children’s needs,” Mawri said. “And children are not small adults. Children are different in many perspectives.”

He said vaccinating young teens against the coronavirus also presents a unique opportunity to better their health in other ways.

“It’s also a good opportunity to also mention to the parents when they come over here that they’re also due for other immunizations, and obviously we can either administer some of those immunizations or have them schedule for a different day,” Mawri said.

According to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, vaccine rates for several other illnesses have fallen below 70% in more than half of Michigan’s 83 counties due to the pandemic. Mawri is hopeful those numbers will turn around.

He is encouraging patients to continue following masking, social distancing and handwashing protocols between receiving the two doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

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