Jun 21, 2022 - COVID

COVID shots for children under 5 could be available this week

A health care worker administers a Covid-19 test to a child at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru vaccination and testing site in Austin on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Austin parents will soon have the option to get the area's youngest residents vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's COVID shots for children as young as 6 months old on Saturday.

Why it matters: Children under 5 are the last group without access to COVID vaccines.

What they're doing: Austin Public Health officials have placed orders for vaccine doses from the state, officials told Axios. Once that's approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the local health authority, the shots will ship in the coming days.

  • Parents can head to their pediatrician's office and many local pharmacies. Austin Public Health officials expect to offer vaccines at Shots for Tots clinics.

Of note: Special training is required to administer shots to the youngest age group.

Zoom in: The Austin area's daily hospital admissions and COVID cases have risen slightly in recent weeks, but with the rise of at-home tests, many cases go unreported.

What they're saying: Spencer Fox, associate director for the University of Texas' COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, said Austin residents shouldn't expect the rollout for children to make much of an impact against community transmission because the group makes up such a small share of the population.

  • But it will come as a sigh of relief for parents who have waited for years to vaccinate their children.
  • Expanding vaccinations to the youngest Americans is also helpful for battling future variants because new vaccines with new variant combinations can be distributed by age, according to Fox.
  • "We'll be able to respond to variants more quickly, through our whole population rather than just specific groups."

The bottom line: Expect to see the area's vaccine availability expand in the coming days as local officials work to educate parents about the shot.


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