Arizona babies and toddlers could start getting COVID-19 vaccines next week
Arizona's 390,000 children under the age of 5 may finally have access to COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday signed off on both Pfizer and Moderna’s shots for young children.
The low-dose shots for kids as young as 6 months old could be available early next week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to give the final OK before the vaccines hit the market, but that’s likely to happen within a few days.
Arizona pediatricians offices are expected to receive about 41,000 doses of the vaccines in the initial shipments next week, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Retail pharmacies in the state are expected to receive an additional 28,000 doses. Vaccination sites statewide are listed at azdhs.gov/findvaccine.
The FDA panel reviewing the vaccine data for young children gave unanimous support for the shots. Medical experts strongly recommend parents get their children vaccinated.
"Children may be less likely to have severe outcomes from COVID-19, but there have been cases of severe illness, hospitalization, and even death among those younger than 6," Carla Berg, deputy director of health services with the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote in a blog post. "Young children also are very effective spreaders of disease, so having them vaccinated helps protect those around them, including older relatives who are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19."
But polling suggests many U.S. parents will be hesitant to get their babies and toddlers vaccinated. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports just 18% of U.S. parents want their kids under 5 vaccinated right away, while 27% percent say they will definitely not get their young kids immunized for COVID-19. And uptake of vaccines has been slow among older children. In Arizona, only about one-in-four kids ages 5-to-11 has gotten fully vaccinated since shots for that age group became available last fall.