Westport parents remain hesitant about vaccinating their younger kids

Westport+children+Penny+and+Jack+Smith+received+their+first+dose+of+the+COVID-19+vaccine.+They+have+just+become+eligible.+

Photo contributed by Corrie Smith

Westport children Penny and Jack Smith received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. They have just become eligible.

Audrey Kercher ’23 , Web Arts Editor

There are 194 million people fully vaccinated in the US helping to combat COVID-19 and lessening the impacts of the pandemic. Although this number may seem like a substantial number of Americans, this only accounts for around 58.8% of the population. Of course, there is one group unaccounted for: kids. Younger kids are now able to be vaccinated and will increase the efficacy of the vaccine, which would help to decrease COVID-19 cases.

Kids, ages five to 11, are now approved to be vaccinated as of Nov. 2 in Connecticut according to NBC Connecticut. The rolling out of this vaccine began immediately after it was approved by the CDC. Although this age group of kids are eligible for vaccination, some remain unsure if vaccinating young kids is the best idea. Westport mother Mindy Tan, who has two young sons, one of whom is now eligible for vaccination, voices her reasoning for not getting her son, Nathaniel, vaccinated immediately.

“We will vaccinate [our son] at some point,” Tan said. “We chose not to do it this first round or immediately because he just turned six. We want to wait and see how other kids react and how other parents feel about it after kids go through the two doses and just get more comfortable with the data.” 

 

We will vaccinate [our son] at some point. We chose not to do it this first round or immediately because he just turned six. We want to wait and see how other kids react and how other parents feel about it after kids go through the two doses and just get more comfortable with the data..”

— Mindy Tan

Part of the hesitancy lies in the significant age gap in this eligibility group as it ranges from preschooler to preteen, meaning children are in very different stages of development.

“I would be all for it if Nate was older, if he was in the double-digits,” Tan said. “If he was 10 I would definitely have no issue with it.” 

On the older end of the age range, Penny Smith ’30, who recently received her first vaccine dose, shares her reasoning behind getting vaccinated.

“I wanted to get it because when they announced that if you’re vaccinated you can take your mask off at school. I wanted to be able to take off my mask,” Smith said.

The vaccination experience for younger kids differs from the experience adults might have had, especially in the availability of the vaccine. Now, there are a countless number of places to get vaccinated that make it more kid friendly. The locations range from pharmacies to pediatricians.

“I went to Walgreens […] The person who did it to me was very very nice. She gave me 10 stickers,” Smith said.

Clara Smith ’23, older sister of Penny Smith, who has been vaccinated for a significant amount of time, emphasizes the importance of her younger sibling being vaccinated.

“I think cases are definitely going to go down,” Smith said, “which is good because I think a lot of elementary school kids are getting the vaccine, which is awesome and when elementary school kids are vaccinated, they’re less likely to spread Covid to their high school siblings or their middle school siblings and their parent.”

Regardless of whether there is uncertainty around the younger kids getting vaccinated, parents can agree that the COVID-19 vaccine will help make going out in public less nerve-wrecking. 

“We can’t wait until he can get the vaccine, we just want to be more comfortable with it and we’re so happy that a lot of people have gotten it,” Tan said. “[…] We’re looking forward to the day when we can all get vaccinated.”