U.S. to begin vaccinating young children against covid

U.S. to begin vaccinating young children against covid

Placeholder while article actions load

Eighteen months after a New York nurse received the first US coronavirus vaccine, immunizations became available Tuesday for millions of children ages 6 months to 5 years, the last group of Americans to receive such protection. .

Pediatricians, pharmacies, hospitals and community vaccination centers began administering first doses of two vaccines to children: the Pfizer-BioNTech product for children 6 months to 4 years old; and the Moderna vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years old.

Some parents rushed to get vaccinated early Tuesday morning. In Washington, DC, Chinmay Hegde’s 14-month-old daughter, Ada, was the first child to receive an injection Tuesday morning at Children’s National Hospital. She winced when the needle went in, but it wasn’t as bad as her routine shots.

“The last time we came here, he ended up getting five injections on the same day,” Hegde said. “I think the fact that there was only one, she was like, ‘Oh great, good deal.’ ”

At a city-run COVID center on U Street, a line of parents and strollers snaked around the corner as Asia Perazich waited with her 3-year-old son Mica and 1-year-old daughter Zia.

“I wish it had happened sooner,” Perazich said as Mica doodled in a watercolor book. “It will be nice to be able to take them to a restaurant and not worry.”

In Houston, Jim Versalovic, chief pathologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, said, “We started vaccinating the first children at 6 am Now we have vaccines in our arms. We have hundreds of children lining up and our goal is to get this vaccine to thousands of children in the greater Houston and Texas area.

“Children are handling it as well or better than adults,” he added.

President Biden spoke Tuesday afternoon at the White House, calling the development affecting some 19 million children across the country “a very historic milestone, a monumental step forward.” He said the United States is now the first nation to offer vaccines to children as young as six months and urged parents to vaccinate their children. Biden previously visited a city-run coronavirus center where vaccinations were being offered to children.

Nancy Wyss of Chicago said she made an appointment to get her 3-year-old daughter vaccinated next week. Wyss said she has been waiting for this moment for her daughter’s “health and protection” and so the family can feel more secure when visiting the girl’s grandparents.

Wyss said the vaccine will also help “my own sanity.” Wyss said his daughter’s daycare currently closes if a child or teacher contracts coronavirus; Once vaccinated, the children will keep the center open if there is a case. The vaccine will also alleviate Wyss’ concerns about flying.

“We’re going on a trip in early August, so it makes us more comfortable to fly with her and see her grandparents. It’s exciting. We have been waiting a long time,” she said.

For parents who have been eager to vaccinate their children, Tuesday marked the end of a long and difficult period in which infants, toddlers and preschool children did not have access to vaccines that have been shown to be highly effective in preventing death and hospitalization of rest of the population.

But a Kaiser Family Foundation Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor survey released in May found they were a distinct minority. Eighteen percent of parents with children under the age of 5 said they were eager to get their children vaccinated right away. More than a third of parents, 38 percent, said they planned to see how the vaccine works in other children, and 27 percent reported they would “definitely not” vaccinate their children. Eleven percent said they would if necessary.

The survey was conducted before the Food and Drug Administration found the vaccines to be safe and effective for younger children and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave them the green light on Saturday.

In some places, there was an initial rush of dating. “It’s really only been about 24 hours since the vaccine was delivered and our call center has been inundated with phone calls about how to get this vaccine,” said Mary Zimmerman, a nurse practitioner and immunization specialist at Spectrum Health in Michigan.

In New York, there was a one-day delay as vaccine sites awaited final approval from the state Department of Health. Matthew Harris, a pediatric emergency physician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens and medical director of the coronavirus vaccine program at Northwell Health, said vaccinations for children under 5 in New York City would likely begin Wednesday.

Florida, which refused to order the vaccine in advance until Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration backed down and allowed doctors to order it Friday, is unlikely to see vaccines until later this week, according to the Department of Health. State health. The state government, which does not recommend the vaccine for healthy children, was the only one in the country that did not order the vaccine in advance.

Biden said Tuesday that “elected officials shouldn’t get in the way and make it harder” for parents who want to see their children vaccinated. “This is not the time for politics.”

About 13.5 million children have tested positive for the virus, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, offering them some protection against it. According to federal health data that looked at blood tests, the number is even higher: As of the end of February, it showed that 3 out of 4 children across the country had been infected with the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Case Tracking

But health authorities say all children should be vaccinated, because it’s the best way to give children lasting protection and reduce the chances of another infection and complications.

Children are less likely than other people in other age groups to become seriously ill from the virus, but they are not invulnerable. More than 1,000 have died, more than 40,000 have been hospitalized and more than 8,500 have suffered from a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which can cause inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, eyes and other organs. , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Houston mother Brittany Kruger said Tuesday that she will not vaccinate her children.

“My children have had covid, and the only reason we knew about it is because we had it. So we tried them. They showed no symptoms, just like most of the children we know,” he said. “I feel that my children, at their age, have very little risk of side effects from covid. In fact, I’m more afraid of what a newer take on the market would do in the long run.”

But Amisha Vakil, who has 3-year-old twins Jiyan and Kian, one of whom is at high risk awaiting a heart transplant, was at Texas Children’s at 6:30 am to vaccinate both boys.

“Vaccinating my two children today means a lot to us, especially to give Jiyan that shield, a little armor,” he said.

“For two years we have been practically in quarantine,” he added. “We couldn’t send them to preschool or any activities. Kian stayed home too, because she might bring something home with him.”

Coronavirus Vaccine Tracking

Nearly 67 percent of the US population is vaccinated, a proportion that has barely increased in recent months despite efforts by government and private health officials. The virus has killed more than 1 million Americans, the largest known total of any nation in the world.

At Seattle Children’s Hospital, parents and their children stood for 15 minutes in front of the vaccination room. Some children had barely said their first words, and others were running restlessly up and down the halls. The hospital was prepared; Doppler, the Seattle Storm mascot, is here to give kids a 7-foot red and yellow furry distraction.

Erin Murphy, who was in hospital with her 3-year-old son, said Covid protections prevented her from attending her great-grandfather’s funeral and she stayed home with her father. Now, the boy joined his family in being vaccinated and has documentary evidence to prove it.

“Everyone got a photo when they got vaccinated, and now he has his,” Murphy said.

Edwin Lindo, who teaches critical race theory at the University of Washington School of Medicine, was among the first in line and sees the vaccination of his two young children as a step against the inequalities exposed by the pandemic. When his 8-month-old son was infected two months ago, “it was scary,” he said. Lindo took the baby to the hospital during his illness and brought him back Tuesday for vaccinations.

“This is our way of fighting and saying that we are not going to be the product of legacies of racism, we are not going to succumb to being a statistic. We are going to live another day to fight, so we can change the outcomes for our community,” Lindo said.

Mark Del Beccaro, deputy deputy chief of coronavirus testing and immunization programs at the Seattle and King County Office of Public Health, said he expects vaccines for young children to rise next month and then decline as more families hesitate. on the effects in younger children. King County is among the most vaccinated counties in the United States.

“It’s a great time to get vaccinated, so people can be less worried about family gatherings and, more importantly, be prepared for the fall when everyone will have to go back inside,” Del Beccaro said.

Katie Shepherd in Washington, Mark Guarino in Chicago, Ken Hoffman in Houston, Barbara Liston in Orlando, Ian Morse in Seattle, and Jack Wright in New York contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.