WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – At first it was a push to vaccinate the older and most vulnerable of our population against COVID-19. Now the attention is turning to young people, but what do doctors think?

Pfizer’s vaccine is approved for ages 12 and older, but despite plenty of encouragement and incentives, whether children get the shots depends on what their parents decide.

From celebrities to political leaders, there’s a lot of encouragement to get the vaccine, but pediatricians also back it.

We’re absolutely recommending anyone who’s eligible to get their COVID vaccine. Sign up and get them as soon as you can. Although fewer children than adults throughout the pandemic have suffered the most severe disease, it’s still not a benign disease for children. Thousands of children have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. Hundreds have died.

Dr. Matthew Morris, Pediatrician, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital

There’s been countless reports about the impact on our kids, even those who haven’t been sick. 

The toll this has taken on children and our pediatric patients from a mental and emotional health standpoint, a social wellbeing standpoint and really their educational experience just really supports the widespread use of this vaccine in our pediatric population.

Dr. Matthew Morris, Pediatrician, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital

Dr. Morris said this vaccine provides added safety, helping with a return to the normal many of us crave and getting kids back to ball games, play dates, and eventually the regular school day

However, adults have to do their part too.

I don’t want to lose the message either that we still want adults who are eligible and who haven’t gotten their vaccine to still go and continue to get those vaccines. You know, we’re not moving on from that group.

Dr. Matthew Morris, Pediatrician, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital

What about getting the COVID vaccine with other normal vaccinations that are recommended for children? Dr. Morris explained the American Academy of Pediatrics said it’s safe, but more research is still being done. He also acknowledged that there’s still overall vaccine hesitancy.

Look at the process. The way it came together was just so nice, with so much support allowing all those safety checkpoints to happen at a more rapid pace while not sacrificing any sort of quality. And so, we have data now showing this vaccine is very safe for every age group it’s been tested on.

Dr. Matthew Morris, Pediatrician, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital

With mask mandates relaxing and the newness of the vaccines, there are always questions. So Dr. Morris advises asking your pediatrician or local health department.

More information is always the way to go when we’re trying to make this important decision for our kids. We do support this vaccine.

Dr. Matthew Morris, Pediatrician, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital

Trials for children under 12 are also in the works for different doses of the vaccine. We don’t yet know how long they will take to make sure everything is safe.