CINCINNATI — This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the COVID-19 booster shot for kids ages 5-11. This comes nearly seven months after the Pfizer vaccine was given the green light for kids in that age group.
What You Need To Know
- The CDC now recommends the booster for children ages 5-11
- Ashley Schweickart is a mom to two young kids and plans to get her five-and-a-half-year-old boosted as soon as possible
- Dr. Robert Frenck is the director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and said while the booster for children is a step in the right direction, more children need to be vaccinated overall to help make a difference
- Only 23% of kids ages 5-11 in Ohio are fully vaccinated
Ashley Schweickart is a mom to two little ones — a 5-and-a-half-year-old daughter and an almost 3-year-old son, which has proved difficult over the last two years. That’s why she got her daughter vaccinated back in November.
“That gave us some level of comfort,” Schweickart said. “But yes, like you said, we still have one who is not eligible so that is a continued concern. That hasn’t lessened even though we are now in May of 2022.”
But with an unprotected little one at home, getting COVID is still a daily concern. So when she found out about the booster now available for kids ages 5-11, she jumped on the opportunity.
“I actually called our pediatric office this morning and asked if they are taking appointments, and they haven’t yet figured that out and they haven’t gotten the shots yet to be able to administer,” she said. “We’re very excited to be able to have our five and a half year old get that booster.”
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is one of the many sites administering the booster for children. Dr. Robert Frenck is the director of vaccine research, and said while the booster is a step in the right direction, more kids need to be vaccinated first.
“While there’s about 28 million children between 5 and 11 in the United States, only 8 million have had just one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Frenck said. “The booster’s nice but what we really need is to get those other 20 million kids vaccinated.”
In Ohio, only 26% of kids ages 5-11 have just one dose of the vaccine, with 23% having both. Frenck said COVID can still be very serious for children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 42,000 American children have been hospitalized due to COVID and more than 1,000 have died. Frenck said just one is too many.
“Is any individual child at a high risk? No,” Frenck said. “But I can’t tell you which child is going to be at risk. I can’t tell you which child is going to get a serious infection. And that’s why we really need to vaccinate all.”
For Schweickart, she agrees. She wants to take every step available to keep her young family protected.
“It definitely gives me peace of mind that she’s able to keep her immunity at a high level with the booster and to keep her little brother safe,” Schweickart said.
Cincinnati Children’s is already administering the booster. Walk-ins are accepted but an appointment is preferred.