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Long Beach parents give their thoughts on COVID-19 pediatric vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Tuesday, Nov. 23 that children ages 5 to 11 are eligible to receive a smaller dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

While the Pfizer vaccine has the same active ingredients for adults and teenagers, children ages 5 to 11 will receive a third of the amount compared to the adult population, according to the CDC.

Ali Aguilar-Soto’s husband enrolled as a CSULB student this semester, and they have three children. At this time, her other two children are too young to get vaccinated because one is two years old and the other is two months old.

However, her eldest child is a five-year-old kindergartner who received their vaccine days after the CDC authorized children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Aguilar-Soto also said she decided to get her eldest child vaccinated in order to protect them against the virus.

Ali Soto-Aguilar and her family pose for a photo. Photo courtesy: Ali Soto-Aguilar
Ali Aguilar-Soto and her family pose for a photo.
Photo courtesy: Ali Soto-Aguilar

After getting vaccinated, Aguilar-Soto’s child reported little to no symptoms besides a sore arm and taking a two-hour nap.

“I am not a doctor and I am not a scientist,” she said. “A vast majority of the scientific community is saying that this is the path to take to protect ourselves. That’s what I’m going to do.”

At the beginning of the school year, Aguilar-Soto recalled hearing about children being absent for weeks at a time and was nervous COVID would spread in her children’s classes.

In regards to a potential COVID vaccine mandate for eligible elementary-aged children, Aguilar-Soto said she has not heard of anything to that effect, but would be in support.

“Everybody has the choice whether [to get vaccinated] or not,” she said. “But, there’s also a very small segment of the population who can’t get the vaccine for legitimate medical reasons and it’s not fair to those people.”

Heidi Girling, health educator and coordinator at the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion believes that children should be vaccinated.

“Children are likely to get sick, experienced health complications, and spread COVID-19 to others,” she said.

Though her son is an adult and has been vaccinated for months, she said many of her health center colleagues with children aged 5 to 11 have taken their children to get vaccinated.

“The health center can only administer vaccines to currently enrolled CSULB students,” she said. “Parents who would like to vaccinate their children should make an appointment through the city of Long Beach.”

Adrienne Gomer finished her teaching credentials at CSULB last year and her husband is currently an American studies professor on campus. They have three children, aged 6, 9 and 12. Her entire family is vaccinated.

Adrienne Gomer and her family pose for a photo outdoors. Photo courtesy: Adrienne Gomer
Adrienne Gomer and her family pose for a photo outdoors.
Photo courtesy: Adrienne Gomer

Earlier this year, the CDC announced teenagers were eligible to receive the vaccine. Gomer took her 12-year-old to get the vaccine in May.

Their other two children received their first COVID-19 shots days after the CDC announced anyone above the age of five could become vaccinated.

“My kids are not big fans of shots,” she said. “But I think the pandemic has really given them the context to understand the importance of vaccines and how science can help us keep other people safe.”

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