Alumna Zheyan Chen receives the second dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Most adults may receive an Omicron-specific booster now. (Han Jiang/BW Staff)

Professors react to new vaccine recommendations for children


As of Nov. 2, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved children ages 5-11 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Several Lehigh professors have gotten their children vaccinated already or plan to in the near future. 

Eric Cosnoski, an adjunct professor in the College of Business, has three children, one of whom is eligible to receive the vaccine. Cosnoski said he plans to vaccinate his son soon. 

“It’s kind of like an insurance policy, where you say, you know, I’d rather have him possibly get a little sick (from the vaccine) than end up in the hospital or worse,” Cosnoski said. 

Cosnoski said his children have been cooperative with COVID-19 restrictions throughout the pandemic. He said they are more than happy to wear masks and try to be safe.

Fathima Wakeel is the director of graduate programs and an associate professor in the College of Health. She said her oldest daughter, who turned twelve in October, has already received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Wakeel also has an eight-year-old son who will be getting vaccinated next week. 

“I can certainly understand the anxiety,” Wakeel said. “It was one thing to get myself vaccinated, and I didn’t worry about it too much, but I was anxious about my daughter. Thankfully, she seems to be doing fine. There were no side effects or anything. I am grateful that the dose for 5-11 year-olds is one third of the regular dose for adults.” 

Kate Arrington, a professor of psychology, has a ten-year-old daughter who has been vaccinated. Arrington said she used her daughter’s vaccination experience as a teaching opportunity.

Arrington said she had many conversations with her daughter about the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine. She said her daughter now has the ability to think about how the process of inoculation works.

“She was very interested in what role the FDA was playing and why the CDC would be playing a different role in approval of the vaccine,” Arrington said. 

Arrington’s daughter also participated in COVID-19 research conducted by Lehigh’s psychology department earlier this year. 

Arrington said a faculty member and graduate student in the department of psychology were researching children’s understanding of contagious diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a good experience for her to be able to contribute to (Lehigh’s) efforts in trying to understand COVID and its impact on children in particular,” Arrington said. 

Jennifer Midberry, assistant professor of journalism and communication, has two daughters. 

Midberry said that although her family was cautious throughout the pandemic, they all contracted COVID through one of her daughter’s classmates.  

Since then, Midberry said both of her children were vaccinated as soon as they were eligible. 

“They got their shots last Friday, so with that blanket protection and then with my husband and I getting boosters, there is a huge sense of relief,” Midberry said. 

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