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Some parents excited, others hesitant about COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12-15

Poll: Only 29% will vaccinate kids 'right away'
Posted at 4:41 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 20:36:42-04

DENVER — News of the FDA’s announcement that the Pfizer vaccine is now authorized for children 12-15-years-old has parents on all sides reacting to that expanded use.

“I have two daughters,” Humberto Cruz said. “If the vaccine becomes available for kids, they would probably be getting it, as well.”

“I haven’t looked into the science yet, or how the studies have been going yet,” Margarita Lopez said.

“I’m not opposed to it, but I just want to wait a little bit longer,” Rodrigo Duarte said.

The news came with praise from some, hesitancy from others.

So, we’re going 360 with doctors who argue it’s safe, a mother who recently lost a child to COVID, another mother of a teen who developed blood clots after his first dose, parents on all sides of the issue and we start with the White House vaccine coordinator Dr. Bechara Choucair.

“This is an important moment,” Choucair said. “We know that the vaccine is safe. The vaccine efficacy is almost at 100%.”

Despite that there is a great deal of reluctance among parents.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows only 29% of parents would get their child vaccinated ‘right away,’ while 32% said they would ‘wait and see.’ Another 15% said they would have their kids vaccinated only if their school required it, and 19% said they definitely would not be vaccinating their kids.

That research mirrors exactly what we heard from parents.

“If it’s going to benefit them, yeah,” Cruz said. “If not, we probably won’t get it.”

“I’m concerned there’s not going to be enough studies done and I don’t want to put my kids through that,” Lopez said.

“Honestly, just to see what side effects – other than the ones they’ve shown – come up. You never know,” Duarte said.

“We heard if we don’t do it, the kids won’t be able to come to school,” said another dad who only shared his first name, Tony. “If that’s the case, I guess we’ll be forced to get it.”

In a statement to Denver7, Denver Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, said, “We do not require the COVID vaccine for staff or students. We do encourage staff and students to get a vaccine.”

“We just don’t know enough,” said Trina Watson, who has a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old. “I am in the group that is completely against injecting an experimental drug in my children.”

There are certainly cautionary tales. Utah high school basketball player, Everest Romney, was recently hospitalized days after his first dose of the vaccine.

“The worst thing,” said Everest’s mom. “Just the worst thing is to have the doctor come in and go, ‘Okay, well – we found two blood clots inside his brain.’”

Doctors continue testing to find out exactly what caused the clots.

On the flip side of that case, an Illinois family is urging parents to get their kids vaccinated after 15-year-old Dakota Morgan died of COVID-related complications.

“She asked me, why did this happen to her and what did she do to deserve this? And I told her she didn’t do anything to deserve this,” said Dakota’s mom.

Doctors tried to move Dakota to another hospital when she passed away.

Dr. Reginald Washington is the chief medical officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver. He believes adolescent vaccines are safe.

“The messenger RNA vaccines have been around for quite some time,” Washington said. “And they do not change your genetics. They do not change your puberty status.”

He’s encouraging parents to talk to their pediatricians.

“Get facts from reliable sources. Obviously, the more kids who are vaccinated before they go back to school, the safer school is going to be.”

“If the results from studies show that they’re safe for kids to have them, then yeah – my kids will get vaccinated. If it’s inconclusive, we won’t think about that until the science says it’s okay for them to get vaccinated,” Lopez said.

Acceptance among parents is now being closely monitored by health officials in Colorado.

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at See more 360 stories here.