Local health officials urge pediatricians to provide vaccinations in office | News

click to enlarge PHOTO BY RACQUEL STEPHEN / WXXI NEWS Monroe County health officials speak at press conference to address Pfizer vaccine approval for ages 12-15. Now that the Federal Drug Administration has approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12-15, local health officials say this age group should be able to get an injection as early as Thursday.

Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County’s public health commissioner, said that while this is great news for the community, he understands that parents can be concerned. He advised parents to talk to their family health care provider.

Express your concerns. Ask your questions and please do your own research from valuable valid sources, ”said Mendoza.

Dr. Stephen Cook, a pediatrician at URMC’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, said vaccinating the younger population requires a new strategy.

“Mass vaccination sites are very good at doing what they did. But we are now entering a different phase. So this has to be done in different settings, ”said Cook.

Cook said that while children don’t seem to get that sick once they are infected with the coronavirus, it is only a matter of time before the virus adapts.

“When a child starts to become biologically mature, it puts him on the same level of transmission as an adult,” said Cook, “and you have to remember that uncontrolled transmission allows for more mutations.”

The county health department has partnered with the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health to get vaccine doses in primary care. Mendoza is urging all pediatricians and family doctors to make the vaccine available in their offices.

“Our offices are probably the best place,” said Mendoza. “It is where our patients will feel most comfortable, and we are probably best equipped to deliver this vaccine to our community.”

Mendoza said the province is willing to help any doctor’s office that does not yet provide the vaccine to start the process.

He also said all county-run sites allow walk-ins for all eligible residents 12 and older. Children cannot be vaccinated without the consent of a parent or guardian.

Mendoza said county sites will open an “expanded frame” of nominations this weekend in preparation for a rush of 12- to 15-year-old residents.

Appointments can still be made at flvaccinehub.com.

Racquel Stephen is a reporter for WXXI, a media partner of CITY.

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