SARANAC LAKE – While hesitation about vaccines among Generation Z Americans, ages 6 to 24, was widely reported, says Hudson Headwaters Health Network Saranac Lake Family Health Pediatrician Dr. Patricia Monroe that she hasn’t discovered that trend on her New York neck.
“I’ve actually seen the opposite,” she said. “Most of my older adolescents are very excited to get the vaccine. Many of them may not hesitate, but their parents do.
‘I’ve had a number of patients say to me,’ I’d love to, but my parents aren’t ready yet. And I certainly have to respect that opinion, but I think some adults have caused some hesitation in my patients for good and bad reasons. ”
GIVE A PAUSE
In those situations, Monroe tries to determine the root of the problem by asking the parent or guardian what gives them a break.
“Usually it has more to do with how long this vaccine was available and how quickly it matured and (whether or not we can trust that process),” she said.
The doctor begins her answer with, “This whole year was a different experience,” before discussing the vaccination process and the science behind it that has been around for years.
“We were lucky that it was ready for opportunities like this,” she said. “These are safe and effective vaccines. We are not rushing through the process; they were available and ready much more quickly because of the resources put into the world.”
In most cases, parents had relied on the doctor’s previous vaccination suggestions, such as those for tetanus and meningitis.
“I try to bring that into the conversation and say, ‘This is the same process being done by a larger group of people with a lot more funding, a lot more motivation, if you will, but it’s the same process and it’s a safe and effective process. ”
CHOICE TO VACCINE
Monroe said current conversations with parents about the COVID-19 vaccine were similar to other vaccination conversations she has had during her more than 20 years as a pediatrician.
“The choice to vaccinate your child is one that requires some thought, reassurance and education, and it’s the very same types of conversations that we’re having right now, it’s just on a different level,” said Monroe. “This is almost easier to talk to parents about because this disease has affected their children so much.
“Many of the vaccines that we now use on children, many of the parents have no experience with those diseases. I have and I can say, ‘Please don’t let your child get whooping cough. Please don’t let your child get whooping cough. Child get meningitis. , ” she continued.
“But parents are now seeing what it’s like to have a disease that is rampant that we don’t have a vaccine against, so at least it has made some of those conversations easier.”
Of the young patients who were excited and ready to be vaxxed, those who felt the weight of the pandemic in more ways than one.
“I’ve seen an awful lot of mental health problems in the last year,” said Monroe, pointing out that it was more than she’d seen in practice in her 22 years and was linked to pandemics across the board.
“What my patients who can talk to me about this, so my 12-18 year olds, are saying that they see this as a way to become a normal teenager again and they are really excited about doing that. .
“Teens, and I say this half jokingly, are not meant to spend all their time with their parents. It is the time in their lives when they go out, try new things, feel uncomfortable in different environments, spend time with their friends, making new friends, having new opportunities, playing sports, making music, playing a play, going to prom – all things that we would consider normal teenage activities, ”she continued.
“They haven’t been able to do them and they are ready.”
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