The FDA has approved COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5-11. Here's why some vaccinated parents are hesitant

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The FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 on Oct. 29, but some parents who are vaccinated — and may even have gotten their teenage children immunized — are skeptical about getting their young children inoculated, The New York Times reported Oct. 30.

Six things to know:

  1. Some parents have expressed concerns that potential side effects and unknowns associated with the vaccines are worth it when COVID-19 symptoms in children are milder than in adults.

  2. The FDA said clinical trials of the lower-dosed vaccines for children determined the inoculation created a strong immune response in children and the shot was safe. However, there were still side effects reported, the most common of which were headache, fever and fatigue, the Times reported.

  3. An October report from researchers at Evanston, Ill.-based Northwestern University, Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard University, Boston-based Northeastern University and New Brunswick, N.J.-based Rutgers University found that parents' concerns about the vaccine significantly increased from June to September. The most common concerns were the inoculation's efficiency, its side effects, whether it has been sufficiently tested and the long-term health effects.

  4. Erin Gauch, who got her two older children vaccinated, is worried about potential side effects for her 9-year-old son. One is particularly worrisome: myocarditis, which weakens the heart muscle.

    "I’m looking at a 9-year-old and if I make a bad decision and he ends up with some debilitating side effects or lifelong adverse reaction, I don’t think I could live with that," Ms. Gauch told the Times.

  5. Vic Sandrin said he, his wife and their 18-year-old child are vaccinated. However, for the couple's 11-year-old twins, they want to wait.

    "I’m willing to take a chance on myself, and that made sense, I’m an adult," Mr. Sandrin told the Times. "But for kids who already have strong immune systems, I don’t know if there’s a reason to get them vaccinated, or at least not just quite yet."

  6. The decision might  be even harder for parents making the decision for their first child, Emily Brunson, PhD, a medical anthropologist at Texas State University in San Marcos who researches parent vaccination choices, told the Times. Because vaccine decision-making is complicated, many parents are likely to put it off, Dr. Brunson said.

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