dr. Vibha Sanwal of Rainbow Pediatrics in Georgetown, Delaware, said she too has seen strong demand for the vaccines for younger children. Her practice administers an average of 10 vaccines a day. Since younger children were approved to receive the vaccine, Rainbow Pediatrics has vaccinated approximately 100 children within that age group.
The upcoming holidays have played a major role in demand, Sanwal said, as have planned holidays.
“I had a family that went on a cruise ship and the cruise ship required vaccinations,” she said.
Sanwal said many parents ask about side effects and side effects before agreeing to have their children vaccinated. The most frequently asked questions were about myocarditis, a type of rare heart infection.
“Everyone had one question, ‘Have you noticed myocarditis in this age group?’ And I told them that… in the trial, myocarditis was not observed in any case,” Sanwal said.
That’s why it’s so important to make vaccines available to pediatricians, she said. Sanwal informs parents and children about the risks of COVID-19 and explains how the vaccine teaches the immune system to fight the virus. She tells kids that the vaccine makes antibodies, which she describes as “soldiers fighting the bad guy.”
“I think that really helps. Many children laugh and say, ‘Oh, I have soldiers in my body to fight the bad guy,’ Sanwal said.
“They want to feel more reassured with the doctor. And they are always afraid that something might happen. And I think some things would be lost if you go to the pharmacy or the vaccination centers, which I know the state is trying to do. But I think the little kids, I feel they’re more comfortable coming to the pediatrician.”
For the first time in her practice’s 20-year history, doctors are also offering vaccines for the entire family. Sanwal said the approach has been particularly successful with its Spanish-speaking patients, who make up 80% of the practice.
“We actually had a family where we vaccinated the grandparents, the parents, the grandchildren — all of whom came to our office to get the COVID 19 vaccine,” she said.
Sanwal said her practice continues to vaccinate a steady stream of patients over the age of 12, while Tomaine said requests from that age group have declined.
Tomaine encourages parents who have yet to vaccinate their children to do so and to contact CHOP with any questions.
“We hope that the more children we vaccinate, the more children [we] vaccinate down the line. Because I hope that there are probably still some parents who are still a bit on the fence. But the hope is that they see their neighbors and their friends get vaccinated, and they realize that everything is fine and they have a better chance of coming back and having their children vaccinated themselves,” he said.
“We just want to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated. This is the next step towards ending this pandemic. So if they can, please bring your kids to one of these hubs to get vaccinated.
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