Jun 22, 2022 - COVID

Vaccinating your toddler against COVID in Pennsylvania: What to know

Illustration of a toy dinosaur with a bandaid on it's arm.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Pennsylvania children as young as 6 months old are now able to get COVID-19 vaccines.

What's happening: According to the state Department of Health, roughly 75,000 doses of Moderna's vaccine have been delivered to provider sites statewide following the CDC's sign-off on the shots for most young children on Saturday.

  • Approximately 83,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine have been ordered as of Tuesday, with some deliveries already completed and additional ones expected by later Wednesday.

Why it matters: The coronavirus is among the five leading causes of death in children ages 1-4 in the U.S., according to CDC advisors.

  • While children are less likely than adults to become seriously ill, kids under 5 have the highest COVID hospitalization rates among youths.

State of play: State health officials say additional orders of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are being processed throughout this week.

  • Roughly 200 provider locations have ordered and received the vaccines so far.

Between the lines: Pharmacists in Pennsylvania are only allowed to provide COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 3 and older.

  • The state recommends families of children under 3 contact their pediatrician or family physician to obtain the shots.

Zoom in: The City of Philadelphia told Axios that Ambulatory Health Services, the entity that oversees the city's health centers, is expecting to receive the initial round of vaccines Wednesday. The agency doesn't yet have a set date for when they'll begin administering the shots.

  • Individual sites can order vaccines regularly on a weekly basis. Because the city doesn't order on behalf of the sites, it's unclear how many are coming.

What they're saying: "Finding a COVID-19 vaccine for your child will be more difficult than when you got yours," Philadelphia Department of Health spokesperson James Kyle told Axios. "It takes a special set of skills to be able to administer vaccines to very young children. That means that it's not available in as many places as before."

  • Kyle recommends relying on pediatricians and calling ahead to make sure they will be carrying the doses. He also said parents should expect delays.

Be smart: The three-dose Pfizer vaccine is available for children under 5 and as young as 6 months.

  • The vaccine uses three micrograms per shot, which is 10% of what is used in the adult version. Children getting the Pfizer shot should get their second dose three weeks after the first and get the third shot two months after the second.
  • Moderna's vaccine requires two doses and is available for children ages 6 months to 5 years. Children should get the second shot 28 days after the first. The vaccine is one-quarter of the dose of the adult version.

1 tip to go: Find vaccine providers through vaccines.gov.

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