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Kids’ Vaccine Touted as a Way to Change Things
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Children under 5 are not yet eligible for COVID vaccines.
   
Sunday, November 7, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

With the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now approved for children between 5 and 11, a St. Luke’s doctor is reminding Idahoans that all the great victories in public health over the past hundred years have come with the help of vaccines.

“You hear people talk about natural immunity, but natural immunity alone has never won a victory against these diseases. The way to change things is through vaccination,” said Dr. Kenny Bramwell, St. Luke’s Children’s System Medical Director

The new vaccines for children are a third of the dose that adult and teenagers get. Children must get the doses three weeks apart, rather than two.

St. Luke’s Health System has begun accepting appointments in Boise, Mountain Home and McCall to begin delivering kid’s shots this coming week. St. Luke’s will not be able to take walk-ins because of the complexity of dispensing different sized vaccines.

Bramwell said he hoped that additional vaccine will be provided to South Central District Health so St. Luke’s can provide the children’s vaccine to families in the Magic Valley.

Several pharmacies in Twin Falls indicate that they have the Pfizer vaccine for youngsters between 5 and 11 available. They include Walgreens and Walmart. The Apothecary in Ketchum has ordered the vaccines and will offer them on a walk-in basis when they receive them.

Every person who gets vaccinated helps with the larger goal of moving away from the way things have been the past year and a half, he told reporters at a press conference organized by St. Luke’s.

“We feel these vaccines are safe and effective as clinical studies have demonstrated,” he said. “We also feel these vaccines are critical in providing protection to the individual who gets it, the groups they frequent and for all of society as we think about getting vaccinated together and helping each other out.”

Dr. Laura McGeorge, St. Luke’s System medical director of Primary Care, concurred: Vaccinated people  spread infection much less in households. So, having a child vaccinated prevents the risk of having grandparents infected, parents infected and teachers infected, she said.

Bramwell suggested that those who have questions talk with their primary care physician, rather than go to social media groups “where everyone has their own opinion.”

AS FOR BOOSTER SHOTS…

Booster shots are “super important,” Dr. McGeorge told reporters because they boost immunity, which naturally decreases over time. And they can be particularly helpful given the Delta variant.

Those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised need to have three doses of Pfizer or Moderna to complete their initial vaccine series because immunocompromised people don’t make antibodies as well as others, McGeorge said.

Those who are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant should also get vaccinated as Idaho medical workers have seen a lot of “unfortunate complications” with women who have not been vaccinated, McGeorge said.

It’s okay to mix and match vaccines, with those receiving Pfizer originally opting for a booster shot of Moderna or those receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine opting for either the Pfizer or Moderna boosters.

McGeorge said St. Luke’s is expecting a high demand for booster shots; the easiest way to get an appointment is to schedule through a person’s MyChart account.

 

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