NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas parents now have the option to get their kids under the age of five vaccinated for COVID-19. Dr. Gary Berner, with Community Clinic NWA, said he hasn’t seen many parents bring their kids in for the shot.
“So far has been a little bit of a slow roll in, but that’s really what we’ve seen each time that we’ve had a pediatric expansion,” said Berner.
According to Berner, the clinic has plenty of doses of the vaccine, and already put in an order for another round to maintain a stock of the shots. Berner expected some delay from parents since its the middle of the summer.
Dr. Berner normally asks parents if they would like to get a COVID-19 shot for their child— as they would for any immunization.
“As pediatricians, we’re really comfortable with kind of initiating those discussions. You know, there’s often another vaccine needed at the time,” said Berner.
Megan Boring is celebrating the emergency-authorization for young kids. Her 7-year-old was vaccinated for COVID-19 at her school, and now she can get her 3-year-old vaccinated, who has a number of health issues.
“It was pretty stressful at first taking him out and around people especially because he’s quite a bit younger when everything started,” said Boring.
Some parents are still hesitant to make that choice— including Steven Clark. Clark has three young kids and is worried about some of the adverse, albeit very rare, side-effects to the shot— such as myocarditis.
“I’ve had COVID myself at least twice. I would rather face symptoms personally than risk heart damage in the future,” said Clark.
Dr. Berner said pediatricians have done a lot of research on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. If parents have any questions, they should consult their doctor.
“I would highly recommend, if you have any concerns or questions about it, you know, don’t sit idle. Be proactive, and maybe you don’t want to be proactive. But, be proactive making that decision,” said Berner.
Richard Taffner is the Northwest Public Health Regional Director. He says if some pediatricians don’t have the COVID-19 vaccine yet, they probably haven’t put in an order for the shots.
“Maybe not all providers have done that yet, but we do have it in all our health units in the state,” said Taffner.
Approved vaccine providers can call the health unit nearest to them to get a supply of vaccines. You can go to a local health unit for a free COVID-19 shot with no out-of-pocket costs.