LEWISBURG, Ky. — With children aged 12-15 now cleared to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some Kentuckians are not convinced of its safety.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky parents eager, hesitant about COVID vaccine for children

  • One Lewisburg mother is hesitant because she believes the process was rushed by drug companies

  • A Norton’s Children’s Infectious Disease expert said the vaccines are safe

  • According to Pfizer officials, clinical trials are still underway for kids ages 11 years old and younger

Jennifer Hayes said she's not an anti-vaxxer. Like several parents, all of her kids are up to date on all their other vaccines. But now, she doesn’t want anyone in her household to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"My kids are vaccinated. Their measles, mumps, all that stuff, they’re vaccinated. I’m not against vaccines. I just think this one is too soon. I don’t think there’s enough evidence supporting it," Hayes said. "They don’t know what they want out of life you know and if I force them to take this vaccine, who knows."

Why? Despite evidence of the vaccine’s safety, the mother of four remains hesitant because she believes the process was rushed by drug companies.

"Initially I thought it was too soon. Vaccines usually take years and they did WARP speed which allows FDA to pass approve the vaccine for emergency use even though it hadn’t been really studied.

The Logan County mother knows the virus is deadly. She recently lost her 60-year-old uncle to the virus.

"If you feel your family is at risk and you want the vaccine I feel like it should be a choice. I don’t feel like you should be looked at bad if you do or if you don’t. It’s a personal choice I feel like," Hayes said.

The healthcare worker and her family follow CDC guidelines, but she wants answers before allowing her kids to roll up their sleeves.

"You just don’t know and I don’t want to give my kids something on a 50/50 chance of you might be okay, you might not. We’re okay now, why would we take something and we don’t know?" Hayes added.

This month, Doctor Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced at least 600,000 children ages 12 to 15 have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Doctor Kristina Bryant, Norton’s Children’s Infectious Diseases, said data so far indicates the vaccine is safe for younger age groups and offers strong protection.

Health professionals say 2,000 young people participated in the vaccine trial’s third phase.

“It was safe. The side effect profile in this age was really similar in what we see in young adults," said Dr. Bryant.

However, Hayes' 15-year-old son Braxton who is newly eligible for the COVID vaccine remains on the fence about the newness of the vaccines.

"There’s really not enough evidence for me to trust it," Braxton said.

While research shows kids aren’t immune to COVID-19, the teenager points to his age group not being labeled as super spreaders in relation to this disease.

"We really don’t mention it that much cause it's really not a problem with our age," Braxton said.

Ultimately, Jennifer said before making a decision about the vaccine, it's important to do your research and ask questions.

"You can’t live in fear and I don’t think you should raise your kids in fear. Our bodies are built to protect us and in this case I think we need to let our bodies do what they are made to do," Hayes said.

According to Pfizer officials, clinical trials are underway for kids ages 11 years old and younger.