NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — The FDA has given emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children five and under, and parents have mixed responses.
One Northwest Arkansas mom, Katherine Hawkins, recently recovered from COVID-19. The week leading up to the positive test, she had slept in the same bed as her five-year-old daughter. Despite the close proximity, her child didn’t ever test positive for the virus.
Hawkins attributed the good luck, to her daughter being vaccinated, and wants the same for her child that hasn’t even been born yet.
“I was sick and she maintained a negative COVID status the entire time. So, when it comes to this new baby, as soon as they’re able to get the vaccine, based on this experience, I will absolutely get them vaccinated,” said Hawkins.
Lensa Odima-Warden is a mother of a three, six and eight year old. She got both of her oldest kids vaccinated as soon as she was able to. She said the experience was like a regular doctors visit. Neither of her kids had any negative reaction to the virus.
Odima-Warden’s three-year-old will be eligible for the vaccine if the CDC gives the ultimate approval. She said she will be getting the shot for her youngest when she can.
“I know some children do get the virus and they recover, but I just want to give them a better fighting chance,” said Odima-Warden.
Some parents aren’t so optimistic about the potential emergency-authorization. Allie Rae is an RN in Northwest Arkansas. She’s a mother of three young kids, and is very passionate about her concern for surrounding the vaccine.
“I’m vehemently opposed to rolling out any new, rushed, experimental vaccine on my young children,” said Rae. “I will not allow my kids to be guinea pigs.”
Many medical professionals stand by the safety of the vaccines. Dr. Joel Tumlison with the Arkansas Department of Health addressed those concerns. According to Tumlison, these vaccines are critiqued intensely to make sure the dosage, components and time between doses is safe for kids.
“They’re looking at the science behind the efficacy of it with blood levels and antibody levels and things like that to see if it’s an effective vaccine,” said Tumlison. “
15,000 Moderna and 15,000 Pfizer shots have been ordered by the state in the first wave of administration. If approved, the vaccines could be here as early as the end of next week. Even though the vaccines were approved by the FDA, there’s still more steps ahead.
The CDC will debate approval of the vaccine through the weekend. If they give approval, the decision will come down to CDC director, Rochelle Wallensky.
Dr. Marti Sharkey is the Fayetteville City Health Director. She’s seen a lot of different viewpoints from parents when it comes to the vaccine for young children. She urged parents to consult with family doctors and pediatricians if you have any concerns. Sharkey said the decision to approve the vaccines is for the overall health and safety of everyone.
“We want to make sure that anything we put in our patients bodies, especially our children, that we are protecting them from the illness and not doing more harm than good,” said Sharkey.