The Oregon Health Authority released a report Thursday showing an increase of COVID-19 cases in the state. Since the vaccines were released, pediatricians say one group has been slower than others to get the shot — children.
The report found that more 66,000 children ages nine and under have caught COVID. And across all age ranges, cases are on the rise.
Pediatricians say there’s at least one way to put a dent in that number.
“The more people that are vaccinated, the more we can get COVID under control,” said Matthew Lohr of Central Oregon Pediatric Association.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are now authorized for children as young as six months old.
While many parents may remain hesitant at getting their kids vaccinated, Lohr is one of those who says he’ll get his own child vaccinated when they reach 6 months.
“I’d say the majority of people fall in the interested but hesitant category so I think it’s our role to provide positive messaging,” said Lohr. “We want to be approachable. We want parents to come to us with questions. I think overall our goal is to provide them with good trustworthy information to help them make the best decision.”
At Drake Park in Bend, people we talked to cross the spectrum of whether they will get their children vaccinated.
“I think if me, as an adult, I have all of them, my shots, my boosters — why shouldn’t my children?” said Bend Resident Loree Slack.
“The reason why my granddaughter isn’t vaccinated is it’s a family thing. We didn’t feel the vaccinations were tested enough to be safe for everybody,” said Greg Winterfield.
Lohr says the research shows the vaccines are safe.
“There is about two years of safety and adults and children who are on the vaccine, and what we’ve seen so far in the trials is that the vaccine for patients under five seems to be really safe,” Lohr said.
There are those like Jordan Cox who say it’s a parent’s choice on how to best protect their children.
“I’m of the personal opinion that it’s every parent’s job to protect their kids regardless of what that means for them. I think if they choose to vaccinate their kids, great. If they choose not to, great. I think it’s totally up to the parents,” Cox said.
“I think it’s reasonable for parents to have reservations and concerns. They just want to do what’s best for their child,” said Lohr.
Lohr says he understands that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website might be overwhelming for parents trying to research the vaccine. He suggests visiting the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center online.