Keeping Kids Safe: Mercy Health doctor suggests talking to kids about getting vaccine

Keeping Kids Safe

"We need the younger kids to help us reach that herd immunity percentage of 70-90%," said Dr. Jim Kravec.

(WYTV) – As of Monday, March 29, Ohioans ages 16 and up can now get vaccinated for COVID-19. As you can imagine, a lot of parents have questions.

As COVID-19 numbers slowly climb in Ohio, health experts are working tirelessly to get more people vaccinated.

“The more people that can get vaccinated the greater chance of COVID-19 ending because there’s not enough ability for it to spread,” said Mercy Health’s Dr. Jim Kravec.

Hesitancy is still an issue.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made the decision to start letting teens 16 and up get vaccinated after some areas reported trouble filling up appointments.

As a parent and front line health official, Dr. Kravec says he gets it.

“We worry and wonder about what the situation will be, but from everything we can tell from the information we have is that this is safe and effective,” he said.

Right now, only Pfizer is approved for those 16 and up. Johnson & Johnson and Moderna on the other hand are approved for those 18 and up.

Parents especially want to make sure it’s safe — a conversation Dr. Kravec has even had with his own kids.

“My oldest is 14 years old, so he’s not eligible yet, but I did say when the vaccine is available for your age group, you’re getting the vaccine. The point of that is you need to have enough people in the community to reach herd immunity. We need the younger kids to help us reach that herd immunity percentage of 70-90%,” Dr. Kravec said.

Which has always been the ultimate goal. Dr. Kravec says in the long run it can only help because, at this point, we still don’t know what COVID-19 will leave behind.

His best advice is to talk to your kids because they have been paying attention.

“As we think about vaccines of all ages — children and adults — there’s two parts I like to talk to people about. One is the impact that it has on you personally — the reduction and the chance of contracting COVID is much smaller if you have the vaccine. That’s important for the person themselves but really, it is about the overall population — health of the community, health of the public,” Dr. Kravec said.

Local vaccine providers are making sure their hotlines and digital systems only let 16 and 17-year-olds schedule at certain vaccine clinics offering the Pfizer shot. Patients who are 16 and 17 must also have parental consent to get their shots.

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