Covid Vaccine for Children under Five Approved. Here’s What Parents Should Know

The moment that parents of 18 million young children in America have hoped and prayed for is finally here: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages five and under.

Shots in arms for the last eligible group in the country can now begin. The Biden administration had already shipped 10 million doses of the just-greenlit vaccines to states and healthcare providers in anticipation of the approval. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated,” said Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.

Yet, some parents may demand more assurance of the vaccines’ efficacy, and of the absence of side effects. An April Kaiser Family Foundation poll found only 18 percent of eligible families were ready to immediately vaccinate their toddlers; 38 percent said they’d hold off-perhaps because COVID typically is less severe in younger children.

What do parents need to know? We asked Elizabeth Barnett (MED’85), a Boston University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics and principal investigator of the Refugee Health Assessment Program at Boston Medical Center, BU’s primary teaching hospital.

Some parents themselves are afraid of vaccines; it’s probably better to have someone else accompany the child, or disclose that to the caregiver. In most offices, there are other people who can come in and help.

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