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Mixed reactions to vaccine rollout for kids 5 and under

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 7:06 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Children five years old and younger can now get their COVID-19 vaccine, but some parents are still on the fence.

Last week, the FDA and the CDC approved emergency use authorization for both Pfizer and Moderna’s shots for kids between six months and five years old. That was followed up Saturday, as CDC director Rochelle Walensky signed off, signifying full approval for distribution. Nationwide, around 17,000,000 kids are eligible for the vaccine, and up to 20% of recipients might get it as soon as it’s available to them.

Children six months to four years old are eligible for the Pfizer shot, while those six months to 17 years old can get Moderna. Carle Health pediatrician Aaron Traeger says there’s already a list of families lining up to get vaccinated.

“With this vaccine, we’re opening the door to living as normal a life as we possibly can,” he says.

Some parents may have uncertainty about taking their child to a place they’re unfamiliar with to get vaccinated, like a pharmacy or clinic. If you’re unsure where to do it, Traeger says the doctor’s office may be the best place, as it’s an environment kids can recognize.

“We really want to be that place that your kids can be safe and comfortable with getting this vaccine,” says Traeger.

Local parents we spoke to have mixed reactions about the rollout.

“We’re excited,” says Joe Matson of Bloomington. “It’s been a long wait with the under five group, and we’ve got two of those.”

“Just with it being so new for the kids, a little bit unsure,” says Tara Carr from Peoria, who is also a healthcare worker.

“I have four kids,” says Peoria’s Eva Counsil. “My twelve-year-old, he’s vaccinated. The middle one, not yet. But I’m working on the other two.”

Traeger says if you’re unsure about the decision, there’s one resource that’s best.

“If you have questions about those things, please talk to your doctor. That’s how those conversations start.”

CVS will start offering it to kids as young as 18 months old, while kids will need to be at least three years old to get it at Walgreens. Carle says they expect to have vaccines by next week.

In a statement from UnityPoint, the hospital says:

“The FDA and CDC have approved age-appropriate doses of COVID-19 vaccines for individuals 6 months and older. Although children have significantly lower risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, both can still occur. We strongly encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated. To schedule an appointment, please call your child’s primary care provider.”

A statement we received from OSF says:

“At this time, OSF HealthCare is not yet able to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for kids under the age of 5. We expect that to change soon, so please check back at https://www.osfhealthcare.org/covid19/vaccine/ for updates on when they will be available.”

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