COVID vaccines are finally available for children under 5

COVID-19 vaccines are finally rolling out for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

The wait is over for millions of parents with young children. The CDC has given over the green light to a rollout of COVID vaccines for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. About a third of parents in this age group say they are eager to get the shots as soon as they can. But others aren’t sure and have questions about whether their children really need to be vaccinated

Nearly 20 million young children are now newly eligible, including babies six months and older. And pediatricians have been anticipating this. Shipments of the lower-dose vaccines made specifically for this age group have already begun.

Medical experts anticipate a mad rush initially among parents who have been waiting and are going to bring their children in right away. But that rush is expected to quickly dwindle.

Parents also will be able to get their young children vaccinated when they come in for well visits, a time when other vaccines are given, and regular examinations. But pediatricians realize many parents may want to wait.

Getting full protection from these vaccines will take a while.

For the Pfizer vaccine, children will be given three shots. The first two vaccines will be spaced three weeks apart. A third shot will be given eight weeks later.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the Biden administration’s COVID response coordinator, says vaccinating this age group will take time. But getting your child vaccinated as soon as possible has an advantage.

“I am very sympathetic to parents who want a little more time. But the bottom line is there’s a very contagious variant out there, he said. “There’s a lot of infections. And we’re, like, two to three months away from school beginning again. Given how much time it takes to build up immunity, that’s not that far away.”

Now, the shots will be available in a lot of places in addition to pediatricians’ offices such as at The Wellness Plan Medical Centers.

Vaccines are also being distributed to other community health centers and to children’s hospitals. Some pharmacies – for example, CVS – plan to administer vaccines to children 18 months and older at its MinuteClinic locations.

But looking at public opinion polls, many parents aren’t convinced that their young children need the vaccine.

COVID has been mild in most children who have been infected, but more than 400 children under the age of 5 have died from COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, pediatricians report that some children have had lingering symptoms even after a mild infection, including fatigue, breathing conditions, cough and some chronic respiratory issues.

Other children experience brain fog and are unable to focus as well.

Doctors say getting children vaccinated outweigh the risks. As in older age grounds, the unvaccinated are 10 times more likely to die from COVID than the vaccinated.

Of the two authorized vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, parents may not have a choice. Pediatricians are reporting that they are only going to offer one vaccine or the other to simplify administration.

But the FDA says both are safe and effective. Parents who prefer Moderna because it only requires two shots shouldn’t depend on that because more shots may eventually be required because of waning effectiveness.

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