RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat and tele-town hall on Tuesday, June 28, 6–7 p.m., to discuss COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years of age.
Panelists will discuss and answer viewer and listener questions about the vaccine’s safety, vaccination locations for children ages 6 months to under 5 years old and the importance of families staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Participants include R. Frerichs, M.D., FAAP, pediatrician with the North Raleigh Pediatric Group and adjunct professor at UNC School of Medicine; Maureen Ezechukwu, M.D., MPH, mother of three children under the age of 5, and maternal, children and public health expert; and Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, M.D., MPH, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for NCDHHS, who will moderate the discussion.
The fireside chat will stream live from the NCDHHS social media accounts, where viewers can submit questions. The event includes a tele-town hall, which invites people by phone to listen in and submit questions to help ensure everyone who is interested can participate. People can also dial into the event by calling (855) 756-7520, Ext. 81966#.
COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect children from COVID-19, yet vaccinations for children across the country, including in North Carolina, have consistently lagged behind vaccine rates for all other age groups. As of June 22, only 36% of children ages 5 to 11 in the U.S. have been vaccinated with at least one dose. When looking only at North Carolina, that rate drops to 27%. In comparison, 77% of North Carolinians age 18 and older have received at least one dose.
Children are vulnerable to the virus just like everyone else, and they can also experience long-term complications from COVID-19 infection, including lasting damage to their heart, kidneys or other organs. The authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 5 years is a positive step for families, as it means everyone ages 6 months and older can now benefit from a safe, tested and free COVID-19 vaccine. NCDHHS encourages parents to get their young children vaccinated as soon as they are able.
NCDHHS fireside chats and tele-town halls are part of the state’s ongoing public engagement to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure equitable access to timely information, resources and COVID-19 vaccines.
The NCDHHS social media platforms will host the livestream: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Visit the channel of your choice to watch the event, which will begin streaming at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28.