WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) participated in an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on building confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. During the hearing, Rep. Schrier’s remarks focused on reducing vaccine hesitancy among families. A clip of Rep. Schrier’s remarks can be found here.
“Vaccine hesitancy is such an important topic. As a pediatrician, I’ve spent 20 years reassuring anxious parents about routine childhood vaccinations. Most parents that are considered ‘vaccine hesitant’ have heard something – usually online – that gives them pause, and just want to be sure they are making the right decision for their child,” said Rep. Schrier. “However, we are seeing more reluctance when it comes to the COVID vaccine. At this point, most parents who definitely want the COVID vaccine for their children over 12 have already done so or scheduled it. My 12-year-old got his 10 days ago. More hesitant families will likely visit their primary care provider seeking answers to their questions and concerns. We know that conversations with a trusted primary care provider make all the difference in the world.”
As of May 19th, the national uptake rate for the COVID vaccine among 12-15-year-olds was about 7.3%. As of the same date in Washington State, however, children have been signed up for their first vaccination rate at a faster rate: 13.6% (52,205 adolescents). As of today, more than 76,000 12-15-year-olds in Washington have received their first dose, which is more than 20% of the age group.
During the hearing, Rep. Schrier addressed concerns she’s heard from hesitant parents, why they can be confident in the benefits of the vaccine and the importance for families to schedule COVID-19 vaccines for them and their children. Now that adolescents as young as 12 are eligible to get vaccinated, it is crucial that they are immunized as soon as possible.
The Congresswoman spoke to the witnesses about how children are not immune from this disease, and we know that some are susceptible to long COVID’s lingering effects. Children also need to return to normalcy as quickly as possible to relieve academic and mental health consequences of a year away from friends and teachers.
The Congresswoman continued: “Widespread vaccination is how we do that, and the benefits far outweigh any potential side effects. For those listening, if you and your family are still hesitant, please take the time to connect with your own physician, who you have always trusted to provide the best care for your child.”
Today’s hearing is the latest in Rep. Schrier’s work to encourage and promote immunizations. Last month, the Representative introduced the Strengthening the Vaccines for Children Program Act, which helps improve the successful Vaccines for Children Program, ensuring children receive recommended routine vaccines by providing no-cost immunizations.