Covid vaccines greenlit for youngest children

JOPLIN, Mo.–Nationwide, infants, and toddlers will be up next in eligibility to get their Covid vaccines. The FDA and CDC both gave the green light for kids to get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine on Saturday. State health departments in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma have authorized kids aged six months to four years to get either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Covid-19 vaccines are now available to children as young as six months old, but it may be a while before local kids can get them.

“We have, pediatric patients that have, different types of chronic illnesses. So this just creates that level of protection and safeguard, if you will, for our patients and whose parents who maybe are concerned about that,” said Jessica Liberty, manager of infection prevention at Freeman Health System.

Freeman pediatricians have already been getting calls about the vaccine for kids, and while they don’t have any available yet, they are ready to answer any questions parents may have.

“It was just recently approved. We do know that, you know, if you are a parent who would like your kid to be vaccinated for Covid, or if you have some questions about it, you know, your best route would be to call your pediatrician and to talk to them…here in the next few weeks, Freeman will be meeting to discuss options available for the community for giving their pediatric vaccine.”

Liberty says they aren’t seeing many kids hospitalized due to Covid, and these vaccines just add another layer of protection. 

“We have not in the very recent past had any admissions that were pediatric age. So that’s really encouraging to see those that have Covid at this point are recovering at home…when you get vaccinated, not only are you protecting yourself, but you’re also protecting other special loved ones that maybe are at higher risk.”

Liberty added that with masking easing up, she recommends talking with your pediatrician about the vaccine. 

Extra: Children age 6 months and up are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Missouri

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for children down to 6 months of age to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC’s recommendation was made after analyzing substantial data from clinical trials involving thousands of children, confirming the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness for children in this age group. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children down to 6 months of age on June 17.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: Now authorized to be given to children ages 6 months-4 years in three doses, with a 3-week interval between the first two doses, followed by a third dose at least 8 weeks after the second dose.
Moderna vaccine: Now authorized to be given to children 6 months-5 years in two doses with 28 days between the two doses.
Previously, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for use in individuals ages 5 and older, and the Moderna vaccine was authorized for those 18 and older. The Moderna vaccine for those ages 6-17 is scheduled for discussion among members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 23.

There have been over 2 million confirmed cases of COVID among children 6 months through 4 years of age, according to CDC data. Of those cases, over 200 children have died after contracting the virus. COVID-19 is the fifth most common cause of death in children under age 5.

Missourians are encouraged to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines to ensure maximum protection. Sufficient supplies of vaccines are available throughout the state.

Missouri providers who pre-ordered vaccines for children down to 6 months of age are listed at MOStopsCovid.com, and Vaccines.gov will soon list locations on an interactive map where vaccines are available. Those who ordered Pfizer-BioNTech are experiencing manufacturer delivery delays. Contact the provider before arriving. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.