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Pediatricians key to reducing vaccine hesitancy

Parents more trusting of doctors they know
Posted at 7:49 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 22:51:50-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Now that COVID vaccinations are available for children as young as twelve pediatricians are taking a much bigger role in giving the shots--and convincing parents vaccinating their children is the right thing to do. Pediatricians say it’s easier to win over parents when there’s a history of trust.

Most COVID shots have been at mass vaccination sites where you probably do not know the person on the other end of the needle. But now the mass sites are winding down and more doctors are giving COVID vaccine at their offices---and giving it to patients as young as age 12.

The Pima County Health Department says 172 medical providers now receiving vaccine supplies and able to administer shots to patients.

12 year old Gabriel Farinelli has had Pfizer shot number one and is getting shot number two this weekend. Aside from the way kids feel about any shot, he’s happy to get it.

“Yeah, because, because kids can be asymptomatic carriers. And they can spread the disease to other people, majority of them old people. So it helps that I won't get other people sick.”

Gabriel is a doctor’s son so his Mom, Doctor Christine Farinelli, is confident about the vaccine.

She says, “Our family was affected by COVID We lost our grandfather, father in law, and so being aware of what he went through, helps us to kind of be like, okay, this is important we need to protect other people from that kind of loss.”

Pediatrician Doctor Sandra Herron says her office at Tanque Verde Pediatrics has already given about five hundred COVID shots but those were with families eager to vaccinate their children as soon as possible. She knows some parents have reservations but says pediatricians specialize in all sorts of vaccinations, and because she’s a doctor they know, she has a better chance of convincing parents the vaccinations will protect their children from COVID and do it safely.

“There's a lot of disinformation and misinformation out there, and in the world we live in with social media and the drivers of that misinformation. We feel like if a parent can come to somebody who they can trust and get the actual facts as opposed to anecdotes or forwarded misinformation that we can really do some good and help them feel good about vaccinating their kids,”

And she says children can get serious cases of COVID and with more of the rest of the population vaccinated, cases are growing faster in 12 to 17 year olds than in any other group.