Local doctors encourage parents to immunize children when vaccine is available

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Just hours after the Food and Drug Administration gave the green light for emergency use of Pfizer vaccine for children, local health systems say they are working on a plan to deploy vaccines.

FDA issued the authorization Friday afternoon.

In a statement, Spectrum Health said they will offer the vaccine at their pediatric, internal medicine and family medicine offices in western Michigan. They say they will also offer the vaccine to children at their walk-in clinics.

The University of Michigan Health West said it was still working on a plan pending final approval and documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as smaller needles to deliver the dwarf dose.

“This is really great news! Said UMHW chief medical officer and pediatric cardiologist Dr Ronald Grifka.

Grifka says the hit is important because children who contract COVID remain at risk for things like MIS-C or worse.

“We have had over 700 children dead from COVID-19, so death is certainly a possibility but so is morbidity. If (children) contract COVID, they could have lung damage for the rest of their lives. They could have heart damage for the rest of their life. They might have what’s called long haul syndrome. Their thinking process and mental development could be delayed, ”said Grifka.

Grifka says one of the biggest impacts he expects with more children able to get vaccinated is less community spread.

“If you think of the terrible diseases that we cured or eliminated with a vaccine: polio, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, hemophilus… I mean, there are so many diseases with really devastating effects on children that we eliminated with a vaccine. The COVID vaccine is very safe, very effective, ”Grifka said. “It will protect these children, keep them in school, allow them to resume sport.”

The CDC has yet to approve emergency use.

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