Medical practices, pharmacies and clinics in the Mid-Western Region have been "inundated" with phone calls as children in the area join the fight against COVID-19.
Parents residing in the Mudgee area have shown little hesitancy when booking their child in for Pfizer, which became available to children between the ages of five and 11 from January 10, booking out the pop-up clinic within a day.
Despite it "not possible" to have students in the newly approved age bracket fully vaccinated before their return to school on January 28, due to a required eight week break in doses, Mudgee GP Dr Alex Ghanem said attending school is safe.
"Our data shows that kids are really quite safe at school, it's not as high of a risk as we originally thought. Although we've previously had outbreaks at schools, they haven't been mass outbreaks," Dr Ghanem said.
"In the next few months, most children will be vaccinated. We just need to be patient."
Any "small" risk associated with the vaccine far outweighs the potential of contracting COVID, according to Dr Ghanem, who said some children are at risk of "very serious complications" brought on by the disease.
"The risk of vaccine side effects is quite low with children. Large studies have been done on young children and the vaccine does reduce the risk and severity of COVID in this age group," Dr Ghanem said.
"The benefits outweigh the small risk. Mild disease for most children but certainly a small percentage can get very serious disease with complications."
Having the younger population vaccinated is a step towards easing community transmission which has contributed to 411 new cases of COVID in the Western NSW Local Health District up to 8pm on January 10, 2022.
"We have a ridiculous number of cases at the moment. We only need to look around and see what's happening. We're lucky that this is Omicron and not just Delta on its own," Dr Ghanem said.
"It's here in our community. There are a large number of people with COVID in the Mid-Western Region and that number is increasing every day. We expect the numbers to rise and follow the trend we're seeing in Sydney."
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