WASHINGTON (Nov. 18, 2021) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is encouraging New Mexico parents to take action now so that children ages 5 and up can complete their COVID-19 vaccination process in time for December holiday gatherings. Senator Heinrich hosted a Facebook Live discussion today with Dr. Heather Pratt-Chavez, a pediatrician at the University of New Mexico Hospital about the safe, effective, and approved COVID-19 vaccines for children in this age group.
“As a parent of two teenage boys, I thought it would be helpful for parents around New Mexico to hear directly from a leading expert in our state about the COVID-19 vaccines that are now approved for children ages 5 and up,” said Heinrich. “I know how seriously we have to consider questions about what is best for the health of our kids. A safe and effective dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for children is a critical step in helping us continue to fight this deadly virus, and finally get back to a sense of normalcy.”
Senator Heinrich encouraged New Mexicans to consult with their pediatrician, doctor, or health provider about COVID-19 vaccines. For more information about how to schedule a vaccine appointment, visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s website, vaccinenm.org.
Last month, Senator Heinrich welcomed the announcement that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for children ages 5-11 to begin receiving the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. In September, Senator Heinrich led a group of Democratic Senators in a letter calling on FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock to grant the EUA for the COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 12.
According the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 6.6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 nationwide since the pandemic began. Nearly 1.6 million of those cases have come since the first week of September. The prevalence of Long COVID in children after initial infection may also create long-term impacts on their success and health. Tragically, over 625 children have died of COVID-19.