Local doctors encourage parents to vaccinate kids when shot is available

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Just hours after the Food and Drug Administration greenlighted emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for kids, local health systems say they are working on a plan to roll out the shots. 

The FDA issued the authorization Friday afternoon. 

In a statement, Spectrum Health said they will offer the shot at their pediatric, internal medicine and family practice offices across West Michigan. They say they will also offer the shot to kids at their walk-in clinics.

University of Michigan Health West says they’re still working on a plan as they await a final sign off and materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention such as smaller needles to administer the dwarfed dosage. 

“This is really great news!” said UMHW Chief Medical Officer and Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Ronald Grifka. 

Grifka says the shot is important because kids who contract COVID remain at risk of things like MIS-C or worse. 

“We’ve had over 700 kids die of COVID-19, so death certainly is a possibility but also the morbidity. If (kids) do get COVID, they could have lung damage for the rest of their lives. They could have heart damage for the rest of their lives. They could get so called long haul syndrome. Their thought process and mental development could be stunted,” said Grifka.

Grifka says one of the most important impacts he expects with more children being able to get vaccinated is less community spread. 

“If you think about the terrible diseases we’ve cured, or eliminated with a vaccine: polio, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilus… I mean there’s so many diseases with really quite devastating effects on children that we’ve eliminated with a vaccine. The COVID vaccine is very safe, very effective,” said Grifka. “It will get these kids safe, keep them in school, allow them back in sports.”

The CDC still has to sign off on the emergency use. 

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