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COVID vaccines available for children under 5

Last Modified: June 22, 2022

Family Medicine, Safety & Prevention

child vaccine

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement recommending that all children 6 months to 5 years of age are now eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine. Knowing parents and caregivers may have questions regarding the safety and efficacy of the newest approved protective measure, we enlisted the help and expertise of Tony GiaQuinta, MD, PPG – Pediatrics.

Why should parents and caregivers consider this vaccination for their young children?

Unfortunately, the coronavirus still plays a very impactful role in the health of our children. We continue to see hospitalizations and occasional fatalities from the virus. We're also seeing that children vaccinated against the virus have a much lower risk of being hospitalized and a 90% reduction in the risk of a dangerous post-inflammatory condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). It's important to note that COVID-19 is not a benign disease, and this vaccine is an important measure we can all take to protect our children as we move forward in this post-COVID world.

Can children get their routine immunization along with the COVID vaccine?

Initially, when we first rolled out these vaccines, we wanted to be very careful that any side effects we saw weren't due to other vaccines children were getting. So, we recommended a slight lag between routine immunizations and the COVID vaccine. But we don't have to do that anymore! The COVID vaccine is very safe and well-studied. We've administered it to millions of children without significant or severe reactions. We feel very confident in advising families to get their children the COVID vaccine and other routine immunizations.

Should parents and caregivers be concerned about side effects?

I want to emphasize that no vaccine in the history of vaccines has been under as much scrutiny as this one, especially for the youngest of age groups. It has gone undergone intense research to ensure its effectiveness while making safety a top priority. With that said, we are all watching this vaccine very closely. If there were serious side effects, we wouldn't use it. Fortunately, there's been no sign of that during the trials and approval of the vaccine. We've seen some fevers, but there haven't been any serious or adverse effects reported, which is excellent news and should be very reassuring to families as they get their children vaccinated.

How does the success of earlier COVID vaccines speak to the safety and efficacy of this one?

Honestly, it speaks for itself. We've already given millions and millions of doses to children ages 5-18, proving that this vaccine is safe and very effective in protecting them from the virus. This also goes toward the credibility and validity of these vaccines, matching the research and information we had going into this process. So, our confidence in the safety and efficacy of this vaccine for this particular age group is extremely high.

Will there be a high demand for this vaccine in this age bracket?

I'm hopeful that this vaccine is widely available to younger children. At this point, this is the only age group that is left unprotected from COVID-19. We've seen a lot of anxiety from families just waiting for this vaccine so their infants and young children can, like millions of others, have that layer of protection, which is tremendously valuable. It's like swimming. Not one single form of protection will keep your child from drowning. But if we layer those protections – swim lessons, life preservers, adult supervision, and gates around the pool – it can help lower the risk of drowning. We want to do the same thing with COVID. By washing our hands, using our masks when needed and getting vaccinated, we employ the most important layers to protect ourselves and our children from the virus.

How can parents and caregivers go about scheduling their child’s vaccine?

Parkview Health is proud to partner with Super Shot, located at 1515 Hobson Road, Fort Wayne, to offer the COVID-19 vaccine (and other immunizations) for children 6 months and older.

Super Shot offers a family-friendly setting, including private exam rooms and nurses who specialize in working with young children. Spanish and Burmese interpreters will also be available. The Hobson Road clinic is located on a major bus line, creating greater access for area families.

Parents can make appointments for their children at Super Shot by calling 260-424-7468. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at their appointment. Individuals with health insurance coverage are encouraged to bring their insurance identification card, but the vaccine is free, and insurance coverage is not required.

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