By Miriam Raftery
June 22, 2022 (San Diego) -- COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months of age have been approved the federal regulators. The vaccines will be available locally within days at medical facilities including Rady Children’s Hospital, which is now scheduling appointments, as well as at community clinics, pediatricians’ offices, and some pharmacies.
Parents have two vaccines to choose from for young children: Pfizer and Moderna.
The vaccines for children this age would be given in much smaller doses. It’s important to start the vaccine series as soon as possible for children to be fully vaccinated before attending school or preschool in the fall.
The Pfizer vaccine would be given in three shots, each containing one tenth of an adult dose. The first two doses would be given three weeks apart and the final shot at least three months later.
The Moderna vaccine, for kids under age 6 is a two-dose series, given about four weeks apart.
Each Moderna dose contains one quarter of the adult dose, more than the Pfizer vaccine, so the Moderna vaccine is more apt to include fever or other minor side effects, according to Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Health, Times of San Diego reports.
The vaccines for babies and young children are giving using smaller needles than for adults, usually on the leg.
“While children have not been as susceptible to COVID-19, it’s important that they, too, are vaccinated to keep them from getting sick and passing the virus to others,” said Wilma J. Wooten. M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Some parents have been eagerly anticipating the COVID vaccine for their younger kids. They should make an appointment to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.”
“Vaccinating children age 6 months to 5 years will offer added protection to those around them, including very young siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of serious illness,” says Dr. Howard Smart, chair of the Pediatrics Department at San Diego’s Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, Times of San Diego reports.
Not all pharmacies will offer the shots to all age groups. CVS Health will offer shots for children aged 18 months and up, while Walmart and Rite Aid will offer them to those aged 3 and older.
The county has had a new surge of COVID cases, including more than 4,000 reported in the past week – but since many people now use home testing kits that are not reported to health officials, the actual rate is likely higher.