Geraldton divided on vaccinating children against COVID, as bookings open for under 11-year-olds

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Friends Lilian, 11, and Brooklyn Autunno, 11, are excited about getting the COVID jab.
Camera IconFriends Lilian, 11, and Brooklyn Autunno, 11, are excited about getting the COVID jab. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian/Geraldton Guardian

Young children are now eligible to get their COVID jab, but Geraldton locals and tourists remain divided on whether they should vaccinate their little ones.

Children between the age of 5 and 11 on Monday became the latest cohort to become eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, following approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration on December 5.

Doses are administered eight weeks apart, with the interval reduced to three weeks in special circumstances.

Local cousins Serena Barns, 3, and Trevina Little Hayden, 4, will be getting their COVID vaccines as soon as they are old enough, their mothers said.

For Trevina, that time will come after her fifth birthday in February, with mother Yasmin Hayden saying she believed it was important for her daughter to be protected against the virus.

Ms Hayden said she was initially hesitant to roll up for the jab, but she changed her mind after other family members got vaccinated.

Geraldton tourist Lilian and her friend Brooklyn Autunno, both 11, said they are eager to get the jab.

“I’m excited to get it because I don’t want to get COVID,” Lilian said.

“I want to do it because most of my family already have been vaccinated,” Brooklyn said.

Their parents are hoping their daughters can get their first jab before school goes back, with Lilian’s mother Amber saying vaccination was one of the keys to “moving on with life” post-pandemic.

The woman said she was happy to vaccinate her children, but she feared some kids who wanted the jab would not be provided with parental permission.

Brooklyn’s mother Bianca Moiler said her 13-year-old son was also vaccinated, with anyone over the age of 12 eligible for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

But not all families will be vaccinating their children, with one Geraldton mother — who is vaccinated — saying her seven-year-old will not be getting the jab anytime soon.

“I’m worried about the long term effects it could have on her,” she said.

Another woman watching her children play in Geraldton’s water park said she had no problems rolling up her own sleeve, but she would not be vaccinating her little ones.

“If they are not feeling well after it, if they are having chest pains, they are too young to be able to articulate that,” she said.

Her friend — whose children are aged two and three — said her whole family gets the flu shot every year, but she was still “on the fence” about the COVID jab.

“I was happy to get vaccinated myself, but I’m still not sure about my kids,” she said.

“You don’t know what would be worse, the side effects of COVID or the side effects of the vaccine.”

Another mother said she would consider vaccinating her kids if the research said it was beneficial to do so.

“I think it would be responsible of me as a parent to wait until those studies are done,” she said.

She said it was disappointing to see anger from both sides of the COVID vaccination argument.

“I don’t think anyone is against people being healthy and safe,” she said.

“We’ve all got the same goal, and that is we don’t want our kids to get sick.

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