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KY Parents Urged to Make "Game Plan” for Kids’ COVID Shots

Adobe Stock, Public News Service

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer booster shots for kids ages 12 to 15, as well as a third shot for younger children who are immunocompromised and might not respond fully to two shots.

Experts are encouraging Kentucky parents to consult their pediatrician or family doctor and create a "game plan" for their kids' COVID vaccinations.

For children with certain conditions, said Ben Chandler, chief executive of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, the benefits of the vaccine's protection against the coronavirus far outweigh any potential side effects, "especially if their child has asthma, diabetes or other vulnerabilities. If they have those vulnerabilities, we can assure you that their risks with COVID are dramatically greater than any risk they may have by receiving the vaccine."

The Foundation has launched High Five for Health, a campaign in English and Spanish to help address parents' vaccine-related concerns in focus groups, with the support of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky. The campaign includes five steps for parents to consider when getting a child vaccinated.

Leon Lamoreaux, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky, said he wants people to be informed and empowered when making critical health-care decisions for their families.

“We believe that this public-service campaign will help to reinforce that critical message to parents and families," he said.

In a survey by Kaiser Family Foundation, many parents of children younger than 11 said they're concerned about potential unknown, long-term effects of vaccines, and more than half of parents with annual incomes of less than $50,000 voiced concerns about taking time off work to get children to vaccine appointments and help them recover from symptoms.

Chandler noted that convenience is a top priority for parents, regardless of income.

"They're considering where they schedule the appointment, whether it's at a doctor's office, a pharmacy, a school, a church, etc.," he said, "and they want it to be as easy as possible."