Local pharmacist witnesses parents lie about children’s age to get COVID-19 vaccine

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A local pharmacist says while many Arkansans are still hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, others are stopping at nothing to get it, even if they are not eligible.

Pharmacist Julie Stewart with Medical Arts Pharmacy said to make the vaccination process as easy as possible for eligible people, the pharmacy is not requiring birth certificates or any other documents for kids without a driver’s license. Instead, you just fill out some paperwork.

However, this effort to simplify is now making it easy for parents to cheat the system.

You see all this hesitancy about it and people saying things about it or dead set against it, then this is sort of opposite end of the spectrum where they’re getting it- those don’t even qualify for it.”

JULIE STEWART, PHARMACIST, MEDICAL ARTS PHARMACY

Stewart said it is a problem she never expected: parents lying on paperwork about their child’s date of birth if they’re ineligible… all to get them their shots right away.

“We kind of trust the parents to do the right thing and give us the correct information, so we don’t want to create any barriers by asking for birth certificates or anything to prove date of birth,” she said.

Dr. Jessica Snowden is the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Disease at UAMS, but she is also a mom.

I know as a pediatrician and as a mom of a ten year old that I would love to be able to protect my child right now, but I do want to wait and make sure that I see the data from kids.”

DR. JESSICA SNOWDEN, CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF PEDIATRIC DISEASE, UAMS

Both Dr. Snowden and Stewart say until vaccines are FDA authorized for kids 5-11, it is a major concern to hear of some getting the shots early.

“Kids are not adults, they’re a little bit different,” Dr. Snowden said. “So, we want to make sure that the vaccines work the same way in them, that the dose is right for them and that the safety protocol is the same.”

Stewart said at least one consequence down the road will be inaccurate vaccination records for the kids who did get the vaccine while ineligible.

“It creates a false information in the state registry,” she said. “That child’s vaccination record is never going to be reflected properly from that point forward.”

Stewart said ultimately the pharmacy has no real liability in cases like these; they simply have to rely on parents to be truthful.

However, Dr. Snowden said the wait should not be much longer and we can expect FDA authorization of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for kids 5-11 as early as this fall.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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