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Local doctors, parents speak out after Pfizer says COVID vaccine is safe for kids 5 to 11

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ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Students are back in the classroom, and local doctors report that COVID cases are on the rise.

"The number of kids [with COVID cases] is starting to tick up slowly," said Dr. Alex Benjamin from LVHN.

The news from Benjamin came when there was no word on when children would be eligible for the vaccine.

That all changed Monday.

Pfizer announced its vaccination trial for children 5 to 11 was safe and well tolerated.

Vicki Kistler, the health director for the city of Allentown, says it could only take a few weeks before it's rolled out.

"We have so many parents who are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their children," Kistler said.

"We're hoping it's going to be within the next three weeks and we are certainly gearing up the staffing, the locations, the supplies to be ready," Kistler said.

It's welcome news for parents like Angela Deloskey. She has two children in elementary school.

"I think vaccinations are a good idea because the kids can be able to not worry about exposure to the illness and everything else with all the other kids," Deloskey said.

But not all parents are on board.

"I'm not comfortable with it at all," said Erinne Butler, who has two children in elementary school.

She says it's too new for her to feel comfortable.

"Because our kids are so young, we don't know if this will be long lasting, if it's going to affect their health when they're in their 20s, it's just not enough in for me as a mom for me to be safe," Butler said.

Nathan Hagstrom, the chair of pediatrics at Lehigh Valley Health Network, says the vaccine is safer than getting the delta variant.

"So even though it's not likely to affect most children with any severe disease or complications, it can and it does so in a frequency that is far greater than any potential side effects from the vaccine," Hagstrom said.

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