MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Now that younger kids can get COVID-19 shots, the push is for many parents to get them fully vaccinated before the Christmas holiday.
The White House says 900,000 U.S. kids ages 5 to 11 got the COVID vaccine in its first week. Friday, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital put on a vaccine event at the Hickory Hill Community Center.
“Parents who have plans for Christmas with travel or large family gatherings and they want their children to be protected and don’t their children to bring COVID-19 into any gatherings, then they need to be thinking about getting their children vaccinated probably in the next week or two,” said Dr. Sandy Arnold, chief of pediatric infectious disease at Le Bonheur.
If you want your child fully vaccinated by Dec. 25, they should receive their first dose no later than Nov. 20. Your child would then be eligible for their second dose on Dec. 11. They would be fully vaccinated two weeks later, on Dec. 25.
“Full vaccination status means two weeks after your second dose and the doses have to be a minimum of three weeks apart,” Arnold said. “If they’re longer apart, that’s absolutely fine, but can’t occur less than three weeks apart.”
Health experts say parents should know the Pfizer vaccine is safe for their children.
“They have not, so far, seen any cases of myocarditis or inflammation of the heart in this younger age group, and so with that, that’s one more reason for parents to feel safe and it’s a good thing to come out and get this safe and effective vaccine for their kids,” said Shelby County Health director Dr. Michelle Taylor.
Taylor had her own young daughter get vaccinated as their family prepares for the holidays.
“We believe in leading by example in our family and we believe it’s importance to her, our family, but also to protect the community,” Taylor said. “So, it was a big deal for her to finally be able to get her COVID vaccination last week.”
There are two vaccine events parents may want to consider: the Hickory Hill and Glenview Community Centers will be open until 7 p.m. Friday night. Both sites will be open again Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.