Children under 12 years old have no protection against COVID-19 and that’s why getting them vaccinated first will better protect the entire population, Niagara-on-the-Lake pharmacist Sean Simpson says.
Booster shots for adults are important but Simpson noted the virus spreads easier in unvaccinated individuals, like children under 12.
If we get more kids vaccinated then we have a better net protection for all of society, Simpson said in an interview.
And the more vaccinations administered, the sooner we can return to some form of normalcy, he added.
As of Wednesday, Simpson’s Pharmacy in Virgil had vaccinated 20 kids in the five to 11 age group since receiving the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccination for youth last week.
He noted that everyone has some anxiety about getting a needle in the arm, but for the most part the kids he’s inoculated have been ready and willing.
Simpson said kids, especially in the younger age group, are well aware of what’s been going on in the world and are anxious to do their part to help protect their communities and their loved ones – like Grandma and Grandpa.
But it’s been a fine balancing act over at the pharmacy. Simpson's is also distributing COVID booster shots, COVID child shots and flu shots.
He said it's been difficult ensuring the process remains efficient and no vaccines are wasted.
That is why the pharmacy has limited itself to 10 shots for kids per day. Each Pfizer vial contains 10 doses and Simpson doesn’t want to overbook and have to open a new vial just to vaccinate one child, potentially wasting the other nine doses.
But, he said if there are groups of 10 who would like to get the vaccine together they should call the pharmacy and he’ll help organize it.
Not only is getting our unvaccinated young population the best way to protect the rest of us and return to normalcy, it's extremely safe, Simpson said.
There have been hundreds of millions, if not billions, of vaccines administered worldwide and there have been few side effects, he said.
And people who are vaccinated and who do get COVID have milder symptoms and an extremely rare chance of being hospitalized.
Simpson also encouraged people not to be picky about which mRNA vaccine they get for their booster shots.
He said there is evidence that suggests getting a mixture of Pfizer and Moderna actually offers better protection from COVID than sticking to one and that there is no risk involved when mixing the vaccines.