Local Pediatricians Voice Support of Vaccine
GLOUCESTER — Public Health Director Karin Carroll and Superintendent Ben Lummis are pleased to share that local COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be held for students 12-years-old and up this school year thanks to a partnership between the health department and the district.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday and became officially available to those aged 12-15 following a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Advisory Committee on Wednesday.
Pfizer is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine available to those under 18-years-old, and has been determined through clinical trials to be extraordinarily effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19.
The clinics will be held this school year at Gloucester High School and O’Maley Innovation Middle School. Pfizer vaccine doses are being made available through the state for any student who wishes to receive a vaccine. There is no cost to be vaccinated.
“We are thrilled to be able to support our school district in this way and provide students with a local, convenient, familiar place to receive their vaccine,” Public Health Director Carroll said. “Vaccinating our youngest residents will be a huge step forward in protecting our students, their families, schools and the broader community from this disease.”
“I am very pleased that the City of Gloucester and the Gloucester Public Schools are making the COVID vaccine easily available to our students at O’Maley and Gloucester High School,” Superintendent Lummis said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is a powerful way to provide another layer of protection for our community’s children against this terrible disease. We’ve been able to keep our students in school every day this year thanks to the remarkable job our educators, staff, school leaders, students, and families have done with our safety and health protocols. Providing vaccinations to all students is the next vital step in ensuring that all students will continue to be safe and in school this year and next.”
The clinics will be optional, and parents and guardians will receive additional information directly via email from the district regarding pre-registration for an appointment and specific clinic dates and times, which are not yet available. School nurses will be available to answer questions and support families in pre-registering their student(s).
“Throughout the course of this pandemic, our city has worked tirelessly to come together to stop the spread and keep people healthy,” Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said. “I am endlessly proud of every single person in our City who has and continues to step up to help people as we hope to transition out of this pandemic. The more members of our community who receive this vaccine, the safer Gloucester will be for everyone who lives, works and visits our city.”
Local Pediatricians Encourage Vaccination
Several local pediatricians are encouraging their patients to consider vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones from serious illness from COVID-19.
“I strongly advise parents to get their adolescent children immunized against COVID-19,” said Dr. Ian Sklaver, of Garden City Pediatric Associates in Beverly. “While serious infections from COVID are uncommon in adolescents, they do occur. The best way to protect your children is by getting them vaccinated. COVID will continue to spread until a large majority of people are immune. Immunization helps protect us all; it is our best shot!”
“I strongly encourage all my patients to get the Pfizer vaccine,” said Dr. Brian Orr, of Brian Orr Pediatrics in Gloucester. “Getting everyone vaccinated is the only way for us to get out of this pandemic. The vaccine is highly effective and is the one I received when I got vaccinated. Help us end this pandemic! Get your kids vaccinated.”
Among the children and teens in Pfizer’s clinical trial who received the vaccine and not the placebo, the most common side effects following their vaccination were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain. Side effects normally lasted 1-3 days and were more common after the second dose.
“Expanding access to vaccinations to children to prevent COVID-19 with the Pfizer mRNA vaccine has the potential to significantly decrease risk of COVID-19 to people of all ages,” said Dr. Damian K. L. Archer, Chief Medical Officer and Family Physician at North Shore Community Health. “Parents and guardians of children should contact their primary care physician or advanced practitioner to discuss their child’s unique set of health benefits, risks and alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination so that they can make a decision that is best for the health and well-being of their entire family. The general rule of thumb with all preventative care is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“Teens should get vaccinated for COVID,” said Dr. Jeffrey Stockman of Cape Ann Pediatrics. “While infection in adolescents is generally a mild disease, there is still a risk of serious complications from getting infected. It can also have a major impact on mental health, self esteem and social development. Not to mention quarantine is just no fun at all. Vaccinated teens can go to summer camp, sleep over with friends, travel and go on vacation without worry. If vaccinated, you also lower the chance of spreading the virus to higher risk individuals, including parents and grandparents. It is a win-win for everyone.”
For more information about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here. For the latest vaccination and COVID-19 related updates, visit the Gloucester Health Department’s news blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.