Los Angeles County will start offering COVID-19 vaccines for infants and young children 6 months old to 5 years old next week, after a final approval is given.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first COVID-19 shots for kids under age 5 following its advisory panel’s unanimous recommendation. Next, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet later Friday and Saturday, and is expected to recommend the shots.
Once the CDC’s director gives its final approval for Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine for children age 6 months through 4 years, and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines for children age 6 months through age 5, L.A. County will starting making the shots widely available, the Department of Public Health said Friday.
“The development and approval of the vaccines for children under age 5 have gone through a rigorous evaluation and approval process as with all other routine childhood vaccines,” Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.
The county said its expects the vaccines to be available as soon as June 21.
Since some of the county’s 900 vaccination sites are only licensed to vaccinate children age 3 and older, parents are encouraged to reach out ahead of time to verify hours and availability. Parents can visit VaccinateLACounty.com to learn about locations and schedules for clinics offering kids COVID-19 vaccines.
“As we have seen with adults, children can experience short and long-term health problems from COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “Vaccinations are a proven safety measure that protect your entire family, including now your youngest children, from severe illness and death from COVID.”
Unvaccinated children are at a higher risk of getting very sick and experiencing the worst outcomes of COVID-19, the Public Health Department said. Over the past three months, unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17 in L.A. County were nearly four times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated children in the same age group.
Unvaccinated kids are also at risk of getting Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). About 65% of children with confirmed cases of MIS-C in the county were unvaccinated, and this included children under the age of 4.
The Moderna vaccine for those ages 6 to 17 will be discussed at a separate CDC meeting scheduled next week.
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