COVID vaccines available for younger kids


Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can now get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:34 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Babies, toddlers and preschoolers can now get vaccinated for COVID-19.

The FDA authorized both Pfizer and Moderna for children as young as six months old. The CDC then recommended them.

Some Nashville moms are grateful for this protection.

“At the beginning of the pandemic I lost family members,” Marie Luis said, reflecting on finding out her 8-month-old is now eligible get the COVID shot. “I cried just out of relief, also I’m very lucky to have a healthy baby.”

Dr. Buddy Creech, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, said even though babies get antibodies from their mom, children need to make their own immune response.

“When babies are born to mothers who are vaccinated, they get a lot of immunity to a lot of different viruses and bacteria,” Creech said. “But every month, about half of those antibodies go away and so by the time a child is two, four, five months old, those antibodies are really almost gone. That’s why we are beginning to vaccinate children down to six months of age.”

COVID vaccines made for young children are already being given out.

Lebanon Family Pharmacy has Moderna’s kid-sized doses. It should be receiving Pfizer vaccines by the end of the week.

Vaccines are also being sent to health departments and pediatrician offices across Tennessee.

“There’s a special formulation that they’ve made for pediatric vaccines. It’s different from what adults get,” Dr. Hetal Patel from Lebanon Family Pharmacy said. “The Pfizer one is a three-dose series, so you do dose 1 and then three weeks later you do dose 2, and then eight weeks later you do dose three. The Moderna one is just a two-dose series. You do it four weeks apart and then you’re done with it.”

Patel said the recent positive COVID-19 cases she’s been seeing has been kids getting exposed and spreading the virus to their family.

“It’s great that we have this new tool that we can use and help stop spread the COVID,” Patel said.

She said the kids who get vaccinated may experience similar side effects as adults like achiness and fatigue.

Medical experts are hoping parents reach out to their doctor or pharmacies to see if their child would benefit from getting a vaccine.

“Parents have been under the impression that children aren’t infected as frequently with this virus, but it turns out children do get COVID and a number of them have a significant disease like pneumonia or a number of other reasons to have to come into the hospital,” Creech said. “Some of them develop long COVID, especially older children and still others develop things like heart inflammation after they begin to recover from the viral infection.”

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