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COVID vaccine available for kids under 12. UAB expert: 'The time is now'

Children can now get vaccinated but some parents may want to wait to do so. One health official here in Alabama says the time to vaccinate is now.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Kids aged 5 to 11 are now eligible for the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Just as many adults were hesitant to get vaccinated, many are just as, if not more, hesitant to let their children get the vaccine. One reason many people are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine is because they feel as though the process was rushed. However, doctors say this isn't the case.

"The COVID-19 vaccines, in the overwhelming majority, of the COVID vaccines used in the United States have been the mRNA vaccines, the Pfizer, and the Moderna vaccine. They have been evaluated more thoroughly than any vaccine in history," said University of  Alabama at Birmingham Pediatric Infectious Diseases Division Co-Director Dr. David Kimberlin.

Many people are waiting before getting their children vaccinated.

"The main message here is, why wait?" said Kimberlin.

Kimberlin relates the decision to the decision to wear seat belts:

"Are you going to buckle them up? You know, I think the answer is yes! And the reason you do it is because, in the very unlikely situation that you're going to be in a car wreck, that will protect them and potentially save their life," said Kimberlin.

RELATED: Kids ages 5-11 are already starting to get their first COVID-19 shots

Basically, he's saying the vaccine, like a seat belt, is a precautionary measure you can take in order to ensure your safety and in this case, immunity against the virus.

"The time to protect yourself and protect your child against it is now. It's not when the tsunamis you know crashing on the beach, that's too late. Although you should still get vaccinated at that point if you're not vaccinated so far, but the real time to do it, just like when you get in the car to go on a drive, you buckle up before the car pulls out of the garage," said Kimberlin. "This is the time to do that."

Earlier this year, we saw a vaccine shortage nationwide. But Huntsville Hospital COO Tracy Doughty ensures folks that they will have enough vaccines for children who want to get vaccinated now and in the future.

"So, we ordered for our first order, they come in lots of 300, so we ordered 2,400 doses of the vaccine, and we'll do those and we'll order additional as we see that dwindling. The state's assured us that there shouldn't be any disruptions in getting vaccine as long as they're needed," said Doughty.

RELATED: Why vaccine doses differ for babies, kids, teens and adults