November 2, 2021
Physicians Ready to Vaccinate Children Ages 5-11 Against COVID-19
Seattle, Wash. - To keep children safe from COVID-19 and to reduce community spread, it is essential that children are vaccinated, and Washington's health care community stands ready to help in this effort. The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), Washington Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) and Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP) support the Washington State Department of Health's plan to distribute and administer a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old, following the emergency use authorization granted by the Food and Drug Administration in October and recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, expected later this week.
"This is a moment that many of us, as physicians and as parents, have been waiting for," says WSMA President Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD. "Nearly 100% of Washington's physicians have received the COVID-19 vaccine because we know that it's safe and effective. My colleagues who are parents of school-aged children will not hesitate to vaccinate their kids. We urge you to do the same. You may have questions, and that's okay. We encourage parents to talk to their trusted physicians-pediatricians, family doctors, specialty physicians-and ask about the vaccine. We want all of our patients protected from the COVID-19 virus, to move us closer to a day when our children and communities will be free from the threat of serious COVID-19 disease."
- Nearly 6.3 million children have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic's onset.
- More than 22,400 children have been hospitalized and at least 605 children aged 18 and younger have died.
- Patients with COVID-19 had 16-18 times higher risk for myocarditis compared with patients without the virus. Myocarditis associated with the vaccine is less frequent and of less severity that myocarditis associated with cases of COVID-19.
- Recent studies show that around 2% of children experience post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 and symptoms that persist beyond 56 days.
- Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits to the emergency room for children aged 5-11 and 12-17 years increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.
"Vaccinations against COVID-19 are the best strategy to protect our kids now and well into the future," says WAFP President Angela Sparks, MD, FAAFP. "The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is incredibly effective at preventing infections, which will make our kids, as well as other vulnerable populations, safer. Side effects are almost always mild, and the risk of adverse reactions far outweighs the risk posed by COVID-19."
"Health care providers understand that parents may have questions, and it is natural to be concerned about a new vaccine, but the data supports this vaccine is safe and is the best way to keep your child healthy," says WCAAP President Michael Barsotti, MD, FAAP. "Vaccination for COVID-19 will also help keep our children in school, an important part of their social and academic health. The best source of information about your child's health and well-being is your child's primary care medical provider; we, together with you, place your child's safety and well-being above all else."
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About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.
About the WCAAP
The Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated for the health and well-being of Washington's children and their families since 1934. The WCAAP represents over 1,100 pediatric health care providers from across Washington state. WCAAP frames and leads the public discussion on child health issues, advances public policy to benefit children, and empowers pediatricians to provide quality medical care.
About the WAFP
With nearly 4,000 members, the Washington Academy of Family Physicians is the largest medical specialty professional organization in Washington. It is comprised of physicians, residents, and medical students who specialize in family medicine. The organization works to influence the development of policy that will provide optimal health for all citizens of Washington state.