Chicago health officials say they’re ready to roll out a coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 now that the FDA has given emergency use authorization for kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.
The city’s top doctor, Dr. Allison Arwady, says shots could be going into young arms any day now. But vaccine hesitancy still persists in Black communities.
“It’s very important that African Americans get vaccinated,” said community activist and Chicago vaccine ambassador Wallace “Gator” Bradley.
According to the latest data from the Chicago Department of Public Health, just 44% of Black Chicagoans are fully vaccinated compared with nearly 66% of Asian Americans and about 63% of Whites.
Parents also seem to have reservations about getting their children vaccinated. 31% of respondents in a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation said they will definitely not let their child get the COVID-19 vaccine, while one-third said they will wait and see. Dr. Whitney Lyn with the Cook County Department of Public Health says she believes in the vaccine, especially after her two children tested positive for the virus, but she and her husband remained negative.
“It’s hard as a physician and as a mom to get everyone to trust us and to get vaccinated, and I can tell you that the vaccine works, because my husband and I were negative, and so that lets me know and should let everyone know that the vaccine works and it keeps us safe,” said Lyn.
In hopes of getting kids vaccinated quickly and easily, the Chicago Department of Public Health is teaming up with Chicago Public Schools.
“They will be making vaccines available in schools, and the health department will be sponsoring weekend clinics to the city colleges throughout Chicago in many of the neighborhoods that do have really low vaccine uptake,” said Beth Tadessee, operations section chief of the CDPH Vaccine Operations Center.
City health officials say shots for kids ages 5-11 could be administered as soon as Tuesday.