La Crosse parents differ on whether they’ll get younger kids vaccinated

Pfizer made a request to U.S. regulators for its vaccine to be approved for 5- to 11-year-olds Thursday

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Pfizer is asking the U.S. government to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for 5 to 11 year-olds.

It would affect roughly 28 million American children.

Statistics show many COVID-19 cases in schools across the area involve these younger children.

Some La Crosse parents say they won’t waste any time getting their younger kids vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We believe in science and you know we’re going to do what’s best for our family,” said Nancy Bakkestuen, a mom of a 6-  and an 8-year-old.

“As long as she’s able to get it, then I don’t see a point in not doing it for her,” said Marissa Bester, the mother of a 7-year-old.

But others remain hesitant.

“My children are very healthy, and I don’t see why I should have them vaccinated,” said Alisha Hummel, a mother of a 6-, 8- and 11-year-old.

Dr. Raj Naik, a pediatrician with Gundersen Health System, says building trust with some parents will continue to be a hurdle,

But he says the data he’s seen is clear.

“If the top line press release information is as good as it seems, I think we’re going to be in good shape,” Naik said.

Naik says children accounted for nearly a third of all new cases in the country in just the past month.

That’s a big reason why he says it’s crucial to get the younger kids vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We need to protect them as well,” Naik said.

An independent advisory panel will review Pfizer’s research to determine if the vaccine is safe and effective for 5- to 11-year-olds.

Then it will make a recommendation to the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The approval could come as early as the first week of November, Naik said.

“There’s quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work that has to occur to make vaccines available, but we’re working on that already,” he said.

“If it’s going to provide his safety and his health, then yeah, I’d definitely do it,” said Anneka Yeager, the mother of a 10-year-old.

A few weeks wait to take the next step toward ending the pandemic.

Pfizer’s vaccine is the only shot approved for people under 18 years old in the U.S. right now.

Moderna asked the FDA to approve its vaccine for 12-to-17 year-olds over the summer, but it’s still waiting approval.

It’s already been approved for that age group in the United Kingdom.

Johnson & Johnson is planning to study the vaccine in people as young as 12 sometime this fall.

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