Babies, Toddlers Get Their First COVID Vaccine Shot in Seattle; supply must be limited

On Tuesday afternoon, as it was time for Alba Kerr to take her first COVID-19 vaccine dose, she climbed onto her mother’s lap, a plastic toy in each hand. A nurse at Seattle Children’s smiled at the 3-year-old and folded the hem of Alba’s skirt and counted to three before inserting a needle into her leg.

“all done!” Alba’s mother, Rachel Kerr, said a second later. Alba looked up. no tears.

She was one of 10 children who this week became the first infant and child in the state to get a COVID vaccine shot. After several delays, this weekend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines for babies under 6 months old. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also approved emergency use authorization for the shots over the weekend.

The shots’ regulatory approval came as a relief to many, but concerns remain for families struggling with mixed feelings over vaccines. The COVID vaccination rate for young children has lagged behind that of the older age group. And the supply of low-dose shots will be tight at first, so it can be difficult to secure appointments.

Still, more than two years into the pandemic, parents and guardians now have another option to protect their children.

“I know for many of our families, this is a day they have been waiting, demanding and advocating for,” said Kids CEO Dr. Jeff Spering said at a news conference before the vaccines were administered.

The hospital’s chief medical operations officer, Dr. Ruth McDonald, is leading the hospital’s COVID vaccine rollout. Seeing each child receiving the shot, she burst into tears.

“It’s really touching to get young kids vaccinated,” she said. “It’s very historic that we were able to develop these vaccines so quickly. What a day.”

Dana and Michael Bombad, who were at Children’s with their daughter Marlowe, said they were relieved on Tuesday. While the children at Marlow’s Day Care continue to wear masks during the day, the couple are grateful that vaccination is still an option.

“She’s absolutely thrilled,” said Dana Bombad of her 3-year-old, who walked around and danced in the waiting area before her turn. “She believes that we support getting other adults and children vaccinated.”

While some parents are anxiously awaiting shots, others have said in national surveys that they plan to keep their children away from vaccinations.

according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Published in May, 1 in 5 parents of children under the age of 5 are eager to get their child vaccinated right away. About 38% wanted to wait some time to see how the vaccine was working for others, while 27% said they “definitely” would not get their child vaccinated.

Children of that age do not get severe cases of COVID as often as adults, and more than half of the parents surveyed said they do not yet have enough information about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Is.

Vaccination rates have lagged behind in younger age groups compared to adult rates. In Washington, according to the state Department of Health, about 37% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received their first dose, compared to about 80% of children between the ages of 18 and 34 — a higher rate even in the older adult population. with. Data Dashboard.

Still, local and national health officials caution that COVID can be dangerous and even fatal for children, especially those who are immune, and much is still to be said about the long-term effects. is unknown. Researchers say children can too spread disease for others.

There are more than 460,000 children under the age of 5 in Washington, DOH said in a statement Tuesday, although federal delays in vaccine delivery would make it harder to get shots right away. Some vaccines are expected to be delivered this week, with more inventory expected over the next few weeks and months, the statement said.

McDonald’s said the Pfizer shot for infants and children is about one-tenth of the adult dosage and comes in three doses. The Moderna dosage makes up about a quarter of the adult dose and is administered in two shots.

Kids will open vaccination appointment slot this week, Sites operated by Public Health – Seattle and King County Vaccination of children between 6 months to 5 years will be started on Thursday and Friday by appointment only.

Local pharmacies, including Bartel Drugs, also expect to receive shots for the youngest eligible age group later this week, though it’s common for pharmacies to restrict appointments to children over the age of 3.

Parents and guardians under the age of 3 are encouraged to check with their pediatricians to find providers in that age group.

Families can also find vaccination sites through DOH’s tools, Vaccinelocator.doh.wa.govWhich has filters to search for locations that offer Pediatric Supplements.

People with questions or who can use help scheduling an appointment can call the state’s COVID hotline at 800-525-0127 and press # – or its alternate phone number, 888-856-5816 You can call.

“We wanted her to be vaccinated for the family,” said Rachel Kerr, Elba’s mother, who is also 34 weeks pregnant. “It’s just another way to keep him safe.”

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