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Last Updated on June 28, 2022 by BVN

Breanna Reeves |

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) endorsement for COVID-19 vaccines for children six months through five years old, health providers across the state began administering doses the week of June 19.

On June 24, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that Moderna’s vaccine be used for children as young as six months through 17-years-old.

The FDAauthorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for children beginning at six months of age on June 17. On June 18, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave the green light on COVID-19 vaccinations for children in this age group. (stanfordmedicalcenter.org)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for children beginning at six months of age on June 17. On June 18, Dr. Walensky gave the green light on COVID-19 vaccinations for children in this age group. 

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Walensky in a statement following her approval. “I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.”    

Vaccination doses for children 6 months to 5 years

The Moderna vaccine is administered as a series of two doses, one month apart, to individuals as young as six months of age, with a third dose authorized for individuals within the age group who are immunocompromised. 

The Pfizer vaccine is administered as a series of two doses given three weeks apart, followed by a third dose administered at least eight weeks after the second dose in individuals six months through four years of age. 

After waiting over a year for vaccine approvals, some parents and caregivers are eager to vaccinate their young children who were previously unable to meet the criteria before. Last December, Akasha Hendrix was only able to vaccinate her seven-year-old daughter and not her four-year-old son. With the new approval, that changes for the nearly 2.2 million children who are now able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Possible side effects

During a media briefing on vaccinating young kids, Dr. Jennifer Miller of East Bay Pediatrics explained that some parents and guardians are concerned about side effects of the vaccine and wonder if they’re dangerous. Dr. Miller explained that the side effects are mild and result in a low-grade fever, pain at the injection site and body aches. 

“They’re really common side effects that we see really with pretty much all childhood immunizations, so these are not new to families,” said Dr. Miller. “And what I remind families is that these [side effects] are a sign that your immune system is activated and is there to protect you.”

As the state begins to administer vaccines to young kids, local counties are also ready to begin vaccinating children. According to David Wert, public information officer in San Bernardino county, the county has placed an order with the state for vaccine doses and “is anticipating delivery this week for both the new Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for ages six months or older.”
The county expects vaccines to be available to the public early next week. Parents and caregivers can visit the COVID-19 pediatric webpage which will be updated with information. Available appointments can be found at https://myturn.ca.gov or residents can call the County Health Centers directly at 1-800-722-4777.

Breanna Reeves

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at breanna@voicemediaventures.com or via twitter @_breereeves.