After more than two years into the pandemic, parents of children under the age of 5 years old now have a way to protect their kids from COVID-19.
Following the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization and approval to administer the shot to kids as young as 6 months old, over the weekend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also gave the green light, meaning this week, children can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The federal government has shipped out millions of doses to hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics.
“This is another major milestone. I think parents of kids under 5 have been waiting for a long time for this opportunity, so it’s exciting for that to now be available to protect their children from COVID,” said Dr. Philip Huang, the Dallas County Health and Human Services Director.
He said they’re expecting about 2,000 doses, a thousand each of Pfizer and Moderna. Huang said they were supposed to arrive on Monday, but they’re still waiting and hope to get some of the shipment on Tuesday. He said they’ll start administering vaccines as soon as possible so either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.
“This is a great milestone in the pandemic because we are in need of vaccinations for these vulnerable kids and even though parents may feel that COVID is not as frequent and not as severe in younger children compared to adults, I want to remind parents that we’ve had more than 13 million cases of COVID in our pediatric population, and sadly we’ve had more than 1,000 of these kiddos who have died and 442 of them have been less than 4 years of age, so it’s definitely population that is vulnerable to the disease,” said Dr. Carla García Carreño, Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Control at Children’s Medical Center Plano.
She said it’s not just kids who have co-morbidities who have been hospitalized, but also healthy children.
Doctors are encouraging parents to reach out to their pediatricians and ask questions.
“It’s really important that they look at reliable information, now with social media and the internet, everything is at the tips of our hands, but not everything we read is true and reliable, so always look for sources from the CDC, your local health department, but most importantly, your pediatrician. That’s the provider who is going to know your kid the most, is going to know the risk factors with the kid and with the household and community that surrounds the kid,” said García Carreño.
The CDC said possible side effects for kids under 4 years old include pain and redness at the site of where the shot was given, fever, tiredness, headache, irritability, crying and loss of appetite.
“I want to remind parents that this went through a vigorous process and very, very robust monitoring of everything and safety data, so that’s why the vaccine for younger kids took longer to be approved compared to the older kids because everything was done very, very cautiously in making sure that everything was safe,” said García Carreño.
If you’re looking for where to find a vaccine, click here.