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Families unsure before COVID vaccinations become available for kids 5-11

The White House says they're prepared for all 28 million children in that age range to get the shot once it is approved.

ATLANTA — Kids ages 5-11 could soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in early November if the FDA and CDC approve.

The White House says they're prepared for all 28 million children in that age range to get the shot once it is approved.

But, are families ready for it? Some parents say it's a difficult choice. 

One White House doctor said they're focused on getting the shots to pediatricians and family doctors’ offices across the U.S. 

They don't think they'll be lining kids up at stadiums and fairgrounds to get vaccines and they say they know parents will have questions.

"It's murky, it's murky. I don't think it's cut and dried. And I don't think we know enough at this time," Keri Stephens said. 

Stephens is a health editor and has a 7-year-old, who will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but she says she won't get it-- yet.

"My kids get flu shots, they're fully vaccinated. BUT. This one. Because there's no research, enough research, in my opinion, everyone should make the decision for their family, but I am not comfortable at this time," she said. 

Family Doctor Dr. Cecil Bennett says he hears that a lot from patients.

"I always make sure I keep an open dialogue with my patients, I don't judge them, I listen to their concerns and we have a discussion," Dr. Bennett said. 

He says he's encouraging families to vaccinate their children as soon as the shot is available for their age group.

He thinks the safety and track record for the COVID vaccine is clear.

"I think the research and data is abundant. There is not a question about the efficacy of the vaccine," he said. 

The White House is preparing vaccinations for every child in the U.S. in that age range, and the country's vaccination coordinator says they want parents to feel comfortable with it.

"Over 1/3 of parents are ready to vaccinate their kids today. Even before the CDC and the FDA approve the vaccine. Another 1/3 are in the wait-and-see group. So we want to make sure we have answers to their parents. So for a lot of parents, it's important to have 1:1 conversations with their family physicians," White House Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Bechara Choucair said. 

They're ordering smaller needles and sending smaller doses of the vaccine, and encouraging doctors to have those personal conversations with parents.

But for some families, they just need more time. 

"I want to know more of the risk for kids. I know we all want to get back to normal. And I think a lot of this is about that, everyone wants to go back to normal, I do. But I am just worried," Stephens said.

The earliest kids in that age group would be eligible for vaccinations would likely be in early November. 

Dr. Bennett says there's no real timeframe for when kids younger than that could get the shot. 

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