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Kids and COVID-19 vaccinations? Here’s what some parents say

As the FDA reviews a Pfizer request to allow the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, some parents are weighing the option.
As the FDA reviews a Pfizer request to allow the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, some parents are weighing the option.

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – As the Food and Drug Administration reviews Pfizer’s request to amend its emergency use authorization to include 12- to 15-year olds in the COVID-19 vaccination distribution, some South Florida parents have differing views, and much of the decision comes from personal experiences.

The FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine by next week for children ages 12 to 15.

Based on the results of a pediatrics trial now underway, Pfizer may next request use to include the 2- to 11-year-old age group. Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that the company also expects to ask for emergency use authorization (EUA) for children 6 months to 2 years in the fourth quarter of 2021.

[RELATED: Jackson Health System CEO says as soon as FDA approves vaccine for kids, they will be ready]

Linsey Poveromo-Joly is a mother of two elementary-aged children, 9-year-old Ethan and 5-year-old Carmen. Carmen was born premature and has been hospitalized twice with the flu.

“I have seen what the flu can do and so I am not interested in seeing what COVID-19 can do,” Poveromo-Joly said. “It is going to feel like Christmas the day that it can come. I cannot wait,” she said.

Xiomara Napoleon, a mother of two, 12-year-old Hamilton and 10-year-old Francis, has seen the toll that COVID-19 can have on families.

“People of color are getting the virus more seriously. Knowing the history that has already has happened with my family with COVID, I want to do the best I can as a parent to make sure my children our safe,” Napoleon said.

Her husband’s uncle Benny Napoleon, a Michigan sheriff died in December, leading to her children expressing their own interest in the vaccine.

“I asked my son, ‘What do you feel about it? What do you want to do’ And he said, ‘I want to take the vaccine and feel safe,’ ” Napoleon said.

Natalie Borghini, a mother of three, Stefan, 10, Giovanna, 9 and Julian, 3, is fully vaccinated, but she’s not sure about what she’ll do if (EUA) allows for their age group to get the vaccine.

“I want to see how the kids react to it, more trials, before deciding whether or not to vaccinate the children,” she said.

Dr. Drew Stoudt of Gables Pediatrics said that as older people are getting vaccinated, the percentage of pediatric infectious are rising.

“Kids, they need to be back in school and at activities and sports and I think vaccination is going to be a way we get there and we get their mental health and their physical health vastly improved,” Stoudt said.

Stoudt said that the results are promising for the 12 and 15-year-old age group.

“As far as safety wise, the same sort of side effects and safety profiles that they found for the adult vaccine and the efficacy was as good or better (in children),” he said.

A release from Pfizer about its pediatrics trial for the COVID-19 vaccine for ages to 2 to 11 stated that it hopes to have results in September.

“We have seen what a success other vaccines have been for children and I think this vaccine has the potential to have that same success,” Stoudt said.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.