COVID vaccines now available for children under 5

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – COVID vaccines for kids under five are now approved and will soon be rolling out across North Texas.

It’s the first time children as young as six months have been eligible for the shot.

“This is this is very, very exciting news because our vaccine strategy has one major hole in it, and that was young children,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Health. “And this is going to fill that gap.”

The first shipments of the pediatric vaccine will get to pharmacies, doctor’s officers, and other providers in Texas on Monday, and more will continue arriving throughout the week.

The availability will vary from place to place and your child’s age will dictate when and where you can get that first shot.

Your pediatrician’s office is the best bet for children under 2-years-old.

CVS does plan to administer vaccines at its MinuteClinic locations, but just for children ages 18 months and up. Other retail pharmacies, like Walgreens and Walmart, plan to only offer shots to kids who are at least 3-years-old.

Several county health departments in North Texas will also be receiving doses in the coming weeks. 

Dallas County Health and Human Services plans to release the details of its rollout plan on Tuesday.

The CDC and FDA approved a three-dose Pfizer vaccine or two doses of Moderna for young children.

“They both were pretty good and they were pretty robust in inducing immunity not only for just infection, but to protect prevent against severe disease,” said Dr. Garcia Carreno, Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Control at Children’s Medical Center Plano.

Parents might not feel a sense of urgency to get their young children vaccinated since the community is in a better place in terms of COVID numbers, but doctors say new variants could pop up any time.

“Go ahead and get your kids vaccinated as soon as you can,” Dr. Kahn said. “We can get caught off guard by this very quickly. Omicron is a perfect example of this, and that was just a few months ago when we’re dealing with this. So there’s a lesson there, and we shouldn’t forget that lesson.”

During the Omicron surge, more than 60% of the children hospitalized with COVID had no underlying medical conditions.

“Yes, healthy kids do get COVID and they can be severely sick, enough to warrant a hospitalization. So a conversation with the pediatrician is really key,” Dr. Carreno said.

The two vaccines produced common, mild side effects for those under five, similar to what older kids or adults have experienced, like irritability, headache, fever, soreness and fatigue.

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