Doctor’s advice for parents as vaccine becomes available for 5 to 11-year-olds

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Pediatric Specialist Dr. Joe Segelon encourages parents to talk with their family doctor if they have any questions about the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds. He’s telling his patients that we need to think of COVID-19 as a vaccine preventable disease just like chicken pox and the flu.

“Vaccinating your child decreases, significantly, the likelihood that they have severe illness that they are hospitalized, or they die of COVID. The other thing is it also decreases of having long COVID symptoms which we now know occur in kids and importantly can occur in children who really weren’t that sick with the initial COVID illness,” said Dr. Segelon.

The Pfizer vaccine comes in a smaller dose for children. Sanford will administer its first shot to the 5- to 11-year-old age group at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Avera Health says it will also start giving the shots tomorrow and they ask parents to be patient.

“We do expect a little bit of a rush here right off the bat as the families want to get their children vaccinated so it will take a little bit of time to work through this,” said Avera’s Dr. David Basel.

Dr. Basil says Avera should have plenty of vaccine for everybody. Dr. Segelon says he is urging parents to get their kids vaccinated not only so life can get back to normal, but for their safety. He says there is a notion out there that COVID-19 doesn’t seriously affect children.

“That’s just not true, we’ve seen over 53,000 hospital admissions in the United States due to COVID. We’ve seen about 750 deaths due to COVID that is dramatically worse than your worst flu year,” said Dr. Segelon.

Both hospitals urge parents and guardians to make an appointment to make the vaccination process go more smoothly.

“The one thing I will tell you is a a pediatrician as a pediatric intensive care physician is that wintertime is out time, that’s when we see RSV that’s when we see flu and at this point in time, I can’t predict the future but there certainly is concern that we will have a resurgence of Covid as well. It is a disease of the unvaccinated and the way through this is to vaccinate as much of the population as possible,” said Dr. Segelon.

Some Pharmacies in KELOLAND, including Hy-Vee began giving the shots today. Hy-Vee also encourages parents to make an appointment.

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