Jun 24, 2022 - COVID

What to know about kids' vaccines

Illustration of a bandaid made out of lego blocks.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The littlest among us can now get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Driving the news: CDC director Rochelle Walensky signed off on allowing Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 shots for children as young as 6 months last Saturday.

What they're saying: "The vaccines are safe and have done a great job of preventing severe disease like hospitalizations and long COVID symptoms," Jessica Snowden, physician and chief of pediatric infectious disease at Arkansas Children's Hospital, told Axios.

  • While children are not as likely to have severe illness as adults, Arkansas Children's Hospital has seen kids, including those who are otherwise healthy, hospitalized with the virus nearly every day since the start of the pandemic, Snowden said.

By the numbers: Arkansas has had 799 children age 10 and younger hospitalized with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

  • In total, people under age 18 account for about 3.5% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state. Seven individuals under 18 have died of the virus.

Details: The dosage for children under 5 is lower than for kids ages 5-11, Snowden said. Children 12 and up and adults receive a higher dose.

  • For kids under 5, the Moderna vaccine requires two shots four weeks apart. The Pfzier vaccine requires three shots — the second one four weeks after the first dose and third shot eight weeks after the second dose.

The bottom line: Vaccines prevent illness in children and are necessary to keep kids in day care or school and playing with their peers without disruption, Snowden said.

What's next: Arkansas Children's Hospital expects to have the vaccines available starting today at all of its primary care clinics. You can make an appointment online or contact your child's pediatrician.

  • A spokesperson with the Arkansas Department of Health told Axios all local county health units should have the vaccines today, too.
  • Community Clinic will begin offering the vaccines next week, chief medical officer Gary Berner told Axios confirmed through a spokesperson.
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