ORLANDO, Fla. – This week’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 12 is welcome news for Dr. Fatma Levent, medical director of pediatric infectious disease at AdventHealth for Children, who has treated a number of children with COVID-induced pneumonia and multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
“We highly recommend the vaccine,” said Levent on this morning’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing. “It is very safe and effective.”
Levent and Dr. Sarah Li, an AdventHealth Medical Group pediatrician practicing in Winter Garden, said that while many children with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or show only mild symptoms, some previously healthy kids develop severe illness with potential long-term consequences.
“Some are coming in with no background of any other disease, but getting COVID-pneumonia or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children,” Levent said. “They can get very sick. After seeing that, that’s why I wanted to vaccinate my own children.”
Levent said all three of her teen children will be fully vaccinated soon.
Li said it’s common for parents to have questions about the mRNA vaccines, such as the one produced by Pfizer, and works to try to combat misinformation with facts.
“They hear ‘genetic material’ and they get worried,” she said. “They hear ‘new’ and they get worried … But this genetic material is not something that’s incorporated into the system. It’s broken down very quickly. The more I learn about the vaccines, the more it’s abundantly clear we should be giving it to everyone who is able to get it.”
Levent emphasized that the key to ending the pandemic is stopping person-to-person transmission of the virus and, in turn, mutations of the virus. The vaccines are the best way to halt transmissions and new variants of COVID-19 that are more contagious or more deadly.
She noted that about 370 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across AdventHealth’s hospitals in Central Florida, a slight decline over prior weeks, but still a sign that masks, good hygiene and vaccines are needed in the community.
We encourage you to refer to the video by downloading it here on Vimeo or on the Life at AdventHealth Central Florida Facebook page to pull direct quotes from Levent and Li.
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