A DeKalb County physician, who leads a pediatric practice that recently began administering the Pfizer vaccine to teens 16 and older, says the emotional impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on children is beyond enormous .
“As pediatricians, we have seen fewer and fewer illnesses because people are socially distant, isolated and have more and more mental health problems,” said Dr. Jane Wilkov, founder of DeKalb Pediatric Center. “We’ve probably talked and prescribed more things for anxiety and depression than we did for antibiotics in the past year.”
Wilkov, a guest on the Tuesday edition of “Closer Look,” told presenter Rose Scott that teens and younger children alike have difficulty coping with the new normal born by the pandemic – and experience grief and fear – and generally want their life back.
During the virtual conversation, Wilkov spoke candidly about the great response her practice received from teens who were enthusiastic about the vaccination.
“We got emails and phone calls,” said Wilkov. “When the children arrived at their parents’ house, many parents and grandparents were vaccinated. They all shared it with their friends, and one after another it was the children. “
Wilkov says that since her team started administering the vaccine just over three weeks ago, they have had to come up with logistical challenges to address the increased numbers of people inside and outside her facility and manage the distribution and storage of the vaccine doses.
“We have six doctors, four nurses and a total of 13 staff,” said Wilkov. “Every person in this office has played a role in the introduction of this vaccine.”
DeKalb Pediatric Center now offers COVID-19 vaccination shots to Georgians 16 and older. (DeKalb Children’s Center)
The veteran pediatrician, who has been caring for patients for more than 30 years, described the vaccine as a game-changer and stressed the importance of vaccinating children.
“All this talk of herd immunity, with 25% or more of the population aged 16 and under, until we can get all the kids vaccinated, we’re not going to get this completely under control,” Wilkov said.
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently expanded the state’s COVID-19 vaccine. All Georgians over 16 can now get vaccinated. Dr. Jane Wilkov, a pediatrician and the founder of DeKalb Pediatric Center, joins “Closer Look” to discuss the administration of vaccinations to teens. (DeKalb Children’s Center)