NEW YORK - Etta Fisher didn’t even flinch. The 8-year-old was one of the first in this newest age group of kids 5-11 now eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
"It’s going to help us get out of the pandemic and it's going to help us stay safe again," she said.
Her 6-year-old brother Arnold also got his first dose.
"It didn’t hurt," he said.
Their father Robert said he didn’t think twice before making an appointment.
"If you come in contact with the virus you want to have your body to be ready to respond to it," he said.
Dr. Adina Geller with Allied Physicians Group is encouraging parents to follow the science and points to studies showing the risk of not vaccinating is far more dangerous than getting the shot.
"There are children who have had significant illness, significant consequences from it and we want to protect them," she said.
Kids ages 5-11 will receive one-third of the dose authorized for those 12 and older. To avoid confusion, their vaccine is stored in smaller vials with orange caps. The timing of the CDC’s approval comes as the holiday season is approaching and more families will be gathering in large groups indoors. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky assuring parents they have thoroughly reviewed all of the available data before recommending the vaccine.
"In clinical trials vaccination was found to be nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children ages 5-11," she said. "The most common side effect was a sore arm."
Vaccines are available at pediatricians' offices as well as other sites and pharmacies.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio says city-run sites will provide the Pfizer vaccine to this latest age group starting Thursday and all schools will be offering it for one day beginning next Monday with the proper consent.
"Want to make it available and easy for parents who prefer to go to local school building," he said.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, three in ten parents say they will get their child in this latest age group vaccinated immediately while two-thirds were either reluctant or opposed.
According to the CDC, while younger children are less likely to get severely sick from COVID-19 studies do show they can be just as likely as adults to catch and spread the disease.