ROCKFORD (WREX) — The FDA could authorize the Pfizer vaccine for use in kids ages 12 to 15 in just days.
While some parents say their children will get the shot as soon as it's available, others are cautious.
As a parent, you want to make the best decision for your child's health.
"We're not anti-vaccine, but we're not rushing out," says Peter Dunn, the father of a 13-year old daughter.
"As soon as it's available for them, they'll be getting their vaccines," Dan Fellars, the father to an 11-year-old daughter who will soon turn 12, says.
Soon parents of kids between the ages of 12 and 15, like Dunn and Fellars, will have to decide what's best for their kids.
"Just like my wife and I, we didn't rush out and get it right away either," Dunn says, though both he and his wife are fully vaccinated now. "We were kind of in a wait-and-see, holding pattern. I think, talking with my wife, it's going to be the same thing."
Dunn says he plans on vaccinating his 13-year-old daughter Abigail over the summer before school starts, but right now, he isn't sold on the vaccine for kids.
Fellars' daughter Charlotte will be 12 in September, he says getting the vaccine for her is something he won't think twice about and he says it'll be the same decision if the vaccine is authorized for use in his younger kids as well.
"I would be more concerned about the long-term effects of catching COVID than any long-term effects of the vaccine at this point, because we know there can be long-term effects in both adults and children that go on for months and months and months," Fellars says, explaining his decision.
We asked local doctors their thoughts on vaccinating kids. They say it's important to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
"There's been negligible issues with the COVID-19 vaccines, and when I say negligible, I mean so trivial that you don't even see stories about it," Dr. James Cole, the Surgeon-In-Chief at SwedishAmerican Hospital, says.
And Dr. Stephen Bartlett, OSF St. Anthony Medical Center's Chief Medical Officer, warns strains compete against each other and the dominant one wins out. He says further mutations of the virus could prove more serious.
"You may think, 'Kids don't get that sick, so why do they need the vaccine?' Well, what if a worse virus comes and you missed your chance when it was just easy-peasy to get your vaccine?" Dr. Bartlett asks. "Get it."
As the countdown to vaccinate kids continues, the FDA's decision to issue emergency authorization will give parents the final say.
However, we did reach out to the Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education, which oversees school districts in our area, to ask if schools will require students to get the vaccine. We were told that decision will come from the Illinois Department of Public Health.