Doctors say now is the time to get eligible kids vaccinated for COVID-19 in time for back-to-school

NOW: Doctors say now is the time to get eligible kids vaccinated for COVID-19 in time for back-to-school

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- While students are still enjoying summer vacation, doctors say parents should act now to get eligible kids vaccinated for COVID-19 in time for the start of classes.

"We're going to be putting kids back into schools and school districts have a lot of varying policies on masking right now, so there's a lot of protection that we had last year that's being taken away and this is the one thing you can do to ensure that your child is safe," Dr. Kristin Bencik-Boudreau told CBS 58. Bencik-Boudreau is a Children's Wisconsin primary care pediatrician at Bayshore Pediatrics.

The combination of unvaccinated adults and the spread of the Delta variant has health leaders concerned the fall could lead to another surge in cases and hospitalizations, especially with college students returning to campuses and younger students returning to classrooms.

Dr. Bencik-Boudreau said now is the best time to ensure eligible kids who are not yet vaccinated receive their shot. That's because children between the ages of 12 to 17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.

"It's a two-dose series, it has to be separated by a month, now at three weeks for the Pfizer so you're going to have to have some time to get that in," Bencik-Boudreau said. "Plus after you get your second dose, you're still going to need two weeks after that for the protection to kick in."

Pharmacists in the Milwaukee area say demand for children to get the vaccine remains high.

"We have people who come to us on their birthday, as soon as they turn 12, they say 'we've been waiting for this' and as soon as they turn 12 they get their Pfizer first dose," Hayat CEO Hashim Zaibak said.

Zaibak has emphasized to parents who have questions about the vaccine that protecting children with the vaccine has a greater impact beyond the kid.

"Vaccinating children is going to help the schools, the teachers and the larger community too," Zaibak said.

Doctors also said people no longer have to space out getting the Covid-19 vaccine with other vaccines.

Vaccine makers and government agencies are working to get kids under the age of 12 eligible for the vaccine but that is not expected to happen until later this fall.

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