Pediatrician Chief Says ‘Vaccinate Kids To Help Spread Holiday Cheer’

The holiday season is here and many families are hoping and planning to return to the get-togethers of the past.

What will be new at dinner tables, however, will be conversations around Covid-19 vaccinations, statuses, and steps to mitigate the spread.

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Recently, the Covid-19 vaccine was approved for children ages 5-11—a step toward normalizing school life and how families interact.

The federal government is calling on schools to serve as vaccination sites and New York City began opening vaccine sites as of this month at public schools offering inoculations to all students.

This nationwide vaccination effort reminds me of when I was a child. I was immunized against polio at my school, so I understand that schools are a great means to manage this process.

At AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY), we support the science and need in vaccinating our children against Covid-19.

As ACPNY’s Chair of Pediatrics, I also recommend we all remain patient as we continue to receive guidance from the federal government on rolling out vaccinations to our children.

In New York City, one of the country’s largest cities, we have the chance to lead the national in response to beat back Covid-19.

What happens here will likely be replicated by other states and cities as they learn from our experiences. Therefore, we must remain diligent, careful, strategic, and empathetic in our rollout of the vaccines to children, as their health is at stake and the world is watching us.

For now, what is required in New York City is for us all to focus on parents’ understanding of the importance of vaccinations, the process, and making sure we answer all of our parents’ questions quickly and clearly.

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Parents with young children need to be reassured and have access and opportunity to ask and get answers to their inquiries, such as ‘what types of vaccinations are available to children, what days and where are vaccinations available, what are the appropriate and approved amount of doses for children, and what are the possible side effects, benefits, and follow-ups needed?’ Most importunately, parents need to consult with their child’s pediatrician throughout this process.

Secondly, public officials and community leaders, including local doctors, need to be ready to address parent concerns.

Fighting misinformation and hesitancy is vital to keeping our city’s children safe. The more information and resources that we can provide, the healthier our families and future will be.

Finally, we must make sure the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines is equitable across all five boroughs.

If we want to return to the fun holiday gatherings, which we all hold near and dear, we must take care of each other by ensuring we are all safe and healthy.

Let’s protect each other this season by making sure everyone who is eligible is vaccinated against the Covid-19 and the flu in order to make this virus a ghost of holidays past.

Dr. Beverly Sheppard is the chair of the pediatrics department at AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY), which has a medical office in Harlem as well as more than 40 medical offices and health hubs in all five boroughs and Long Island.

Dr. Beverly Sheppard is the chair of the pediatrics department at AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY), which has a medical office in Harlem as well as more than 40 medical offices and health hubs in all five boroughs and Long Island.

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ACPNY

AdvantageCare Physicians, one of the largest primary and specialty care practices in the New York area, provides quality, personalized care that is focused on the whole patient.

With more than 40 medical offices across the five boroughs and Long Island, serving more than half a million patients, including 120,000 Medicaid members.

With more than 40 medical offices across the five boroughs and Long Island, serving more than half a million patients, including 120,000 Medicaid members.

AdvantageCare Physicians takes a team-based approach to care where physicians work with nurses, social workers, nutritionists, behavioral health specialists and other professionals.

Visit www.acpny.com to learn more.

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