Health Experts Are Worried About Vaccine Hesitancy Among ParentsBy Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Vaccine eligibility could expand to those as young as 12 years old as soon as later this week. But will parents allow their children to get the shot?

Just one day after the Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in 12 to 15 year olds, local health officials are weighing in on who will get their dose first.

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Dr. Ronald Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said those at high risk are advised to get their vaccine sooner than later.

“Many of the pediatrician offices in the community will be offering this vaccine to the age group. Iwould recommend that parents reach out to their pediatrician offices to see if they will be administering the vaccine there,” he said. “I think a lot of them will be, but we will also be administering the vaccine, especially to patients in this age group that have underlying health conditions. Those are the ones that we are especially concerned about, so we’re going to be definitely targeting that group.”

CBS4 has requested comments Tuesday from the Miami-Dade and Broward Public School Districts.

The official word in Broward right now is that no discussion has been made regarding a mandate that students 12 and up be vaccinated for the next school year

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In Miami-Dade, the response was COVID-19 vaccines are not required, but highly encouraged.

Dr. Ford said getting your shot is the easiest way to protect you, and your loved ones, ahead of the summer season.

“Making the vaccine available for this population is really the next step in fighting this pandemic. We have to get as many people as we can immunized so we can bring an end to this,” said Dr. Ford. “While kids don’t get as sick, unless they have some kind of medical condition, they usually weather COVID easily and don’t show symptoms at all. They are still able to transmit the virus to other people who aren’t vaccinated, and may be at very high risk of getting very ill with the virus.”

Over in Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden met virtually with a bipartisan group of state governors to discuss vaccination efforts and the expanded age group eligibility.

“Parents who want to protect their children, younger teens who want to get vaccinated, we’re a step closer to that goal now,” he said.

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According to the latest CDC numbers, 46% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The president is pushing to raise that number to 70% by July.

Lauren Pastrana