CBS2’s John Dias has more on what health experts are saying about this, and why Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to target a new group of people as well.READ MORE: New York Relaxes Most COVID Restrictions After Reaching 70% Vaccination Rate: 'A Momentous Day'
“The vaccine is extremely safe. I actually believe the MRNA technology is the best vaccination technology,” said Dr. Dyan Hess, medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics.
It’s an optimistic statement from Hess, as America now waits on approval from the Centers for Disease Control to allow kids, ages 12-15, get Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. The vote is Wednesday.
“It’s the peak of what we can accomplish as scientists,” Hess said. “You can see from the trial with 2,300 kids in this Pfizer trial, in adolescents trial, no one got COVID.”
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Monday, the FDA authorized the vaccine for children in the age group. If approved, these kids can get it right away.
“It allows us to make a major step forward in terms of herd protection to protect all of us,” said Senior VP Pfizer Vaccine Clinical Research & Development Dr. William Gruber.
Infections in children are up 4% in the last two weeks. In fact, nearly a quarter of all new cases were in kids.
Parents have mixed feelings about the vaccine.
“It’s amazing because I feel like my daughter can be protected,” said mother Michelle Esteban.
“For my children, they have great immune system, healthy, and we don’t know what vaccine does yet long term,” said father Brett Johnson.
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In a recent study, nearly one-third of parents of children 12-15 said they would get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible. Almost half would either wait and see how well the vaccines worked or would comply only if it’s required by schools. But nearly 1 in 4 said they would definitely not vaccinate.
Eli Forant is among the youngest fully COVID vaccinated people on the planet at 16 years old.
“Second shot, I got it four, five days ago,” he told CBS2’s Dave Carlin. “It’s more about not spreading it to people who are susceptible to the virus.”
“If I felt that he had any kind of immune problem, I might have hesitated,” Eli’s mother, Carolyn Montgomery, said.
Fourteen-year-old Benjamin Wong, meanwhile, says he will resist the shots.READ MORE: Fireworks To Honor Essential Workers Tonight As New York Lifts Most COVID Restrictions
“I still don’t trust it yet,” he said.
“You know, I’m leaving it up to him. It’s his choice,” his mother, Yvette Martinez said.
More and more families are heading to doctors for advice.
“They want to see what other families’ experiences will be with this vaccine,” Hess said. “I prefer they get the information from us than from a Facebook mom’s group, you know? I want them to hear how safe it is and how confident we are.”
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday all SUNY and CUNY students will need to be fully vaccinated to come back on campus, relieving any worries of one Long Island dad, who was concerned about his son returning to SUNY Binghamton.
“He got his second shot yesterday,” Rich Sanders said.
But de Blasio said Tuesday he still won’t make it mandatory in city public schools.
“We just don’t think it’s the right way to go at this moment, but we will watch,” the mayor said.
On the same note, he wants to target a new group of adults: Commuters. He and the state are making it easier to access the Johnson & Johnson shot by setting up vaccine hubs at major transit sites starting Wednesday, in exchange for some free trips on MTA subways or trains.
As of Wednesday, the pop-up locations will be located at:
- Penn Station – 34th Street Corridor 3 PM – 8 PM
- Grand Central Terminal – Vanderbilt Hall 8 AM – 1 PM
- East 180th Street (Bronx) 8 AM – 1 PM
- 179th Street (Queens) 8 AM – 1 PM
- Coney Island (Brooklyn) 8 AM – 1 PM
- Broadway Junction (Brooklyn) 3 PM – 8 PM
- Hempstead (LIRR) 3 PM – 8 PM
- Ossining (Metro-North) 3 PM – 8 PM
“Most people who have not gotten vaccinated are willing to get vaccinated, and we have to make it easier,” de Blasio said.
Those Dias spoke with agree.
“I know when I got vaccinated, I stood on line. I know how hard it was to get an appointment,” said Pelham resident Dan Fish.
“Oh my gosh, I can just, five minutes and I’m done,” said Upper East Side resident Karen Milton.
Each transit site has the capacity to administer up to 300 doses a day. Sites will be open only until this Sunday, May 16.
The mayor said the city will now offer a free two-week membership to CitiBike for those who get vaccinated. And starting on May 13, a drive-thru vaccination site will be available at Citi Field.MORE NEWS: Red Cross Makes Urgent Plea For Blood Donations As Trauma Cases, Transplants, And Surgeries Increase
CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report.