Nov 17, 2021 - COVID
Thousands of kids around Tampa Bay are getting vaxxed
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Families across Tampa Bay are finally getting the COVID-19 vaccine for their children.

By the numbers: Nearly 45,000 children aged 5 to 11 got their shot last week when smaller doses of Pfizer arrived in Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

  • Reporter Chris O'Donnell talked to a Palm Harbor family excited to get their 9-year-old, Felipe, vaccinated after almost two years of missing parties, playdates and school since he is immunocompromised.
  • "He is terrified of needles, but I can’t remember a day when he hasn’t asked us when the vaccine is coming," Felipe's father, Mark Hobraczk, told the Times.

But not all families are as eager as the Hobraczks.

  • Only 27% of U.S. parents want their young children vaccinated as soon as possible, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey last month.
  • A third said they definitely would not vaccinate their children, mostly because of possible long-term side effects.

The risk: Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, has occurred in some people after receiving the vaccine.

  • But it mostly affects adolescents — and its rare occurrences are usually mild, the Times reports.
  • Plus, the CDC, FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics agree that the risk of permanent heart damage from COVID-19 far outweighs the chance of developing myocarditis from the shot.

Need help making the decision?

  • Find vaccination sites and more information on the COVID vaccine at vaccines.gov.
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 800-232-0233 (888-720-7489 for TTTY).
  • The Disability Information and Access Line can be reached at 888-677-1199 or [email protected]
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