COVID-19 vaccine relief finally arrives for new parents

For many Bay Area parents, the eager wait for COVID-19 vaccines for their young tots finally came to an end this week.

After federal health officials last week given the OK to receive the vaccine for babies under 6 months old, hundreds of parents crushed their babies through the intense heat at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Vaccination Clinic, hoping State that their children may be some of the first to receive shots.

Jorge Israel and his 4-year-old son Vance from Los Gatos were first in line. They waited weeks for shots to be approved, and when the county scheduling portal opened on Monday, it made sure to refresh its page to get the first available slot.

Israel said of Vance, “I think he was a little jealous – both of his older siblings had already been vaccinated.” “We are very fortunate that we live in a county that we have access to at the moment, and we cannot take this lightly.”

A loud thump, a loud yelp and later a bear hug, Vance was on his way to full immunization and turning his attention to his upcoming summer football season. He sat calmly during the observation period, touching the day-bright yellow stripe at the jab site and holding the jungle-themed scavenger hunt card handed over to the clinic.

The county ordered enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for an estimated 100,000 children aged 6 months to 4 years living in the county. Ahmed Kamal, director of health preparedness for the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center, said health officials scheduled 500 vaccinations on Tuesday and plan to have 1,000 a day by the end of the week. The shots are being offered by the county at five different locations.

Kamal said, “It is a success to see children get vaccinated safely.” “That’s really what our goal is, to make vaccines available as barrier-free and accessible.”

Vaccines for the youngest children come as the latest wave of COVID-19 infections, fueled by new versions of Omicron’s version, driven case growth last winter, creaking in California and the Bay Area. seem to have happened. The 7-day average infection rate in the Bay Area remains higher at 40.9 per 100,000 people, compared to the statewide rate of 33.01 on June 15. But the Bay Area rate has come down from its June 6 peak of 54.32.

Statewide daily COVID-19 hospitalizations stand at around 3,200 as well as the number of weekly deaths at around 200.

Child-appropriate vaccines have been in the works for months. Pfizer’s vaccine approval was initially delayed because the company reported in December that the initial two-dose series did not produce significant results among 3-4-year-olds in the trial group. The authorized shots of Pfizer are given in three doses, the second three weeks after the first, and the third eight weeks after the second.

Moderna’s vaccine is given in two separate doses a month. Both vaccines are at a lower dose than in adults.

Stephanie Dio of Redwood City scoured Google spreadsheets and Facebook support groups for tips on how to make an appointment to get Moderna’s vaccine for her 3-year-old son, Karan — who she thought was school in the fall. to provide better protection in time. She met late Monday, and drove 50 miles the same day at a clinic in Walnut Creek.

“It was a huge relief for them to finally have some security!” Dev said Tuesday, when his son got his shot in a casual outdoor setting at Walnut Creek Pediatric Wellness.

“Super quick and she was great with my son,” Dev posted in thanks to the group. “I’m surprised he didn’t cry! He’s got a lollipops to take home.”

Some medical experts, such as Johns Hopkins University professor Dr. Marty Macri, have questioned the need to vaccinate the youngest children, noting that children face the lowest risk from COVID-19, mostly the elderly. affects. He referred to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that found that three out of four children have already been infected, which would indicate that most have some immunity to COVID-19 without shots.

But experts from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration noted in an evaluation of the vaccines that children were more sick and hospitalized by the Omicron version and said the virus posed a greater risk to them than the shots.

In many areas, parents have less choice than when vaccines were last made available to school-going children. For example, this week health departments in Alameda and San Mateo counties are encouraging families to get vaccines through their pediatricians rather than through county-run mass vaccination clinics.

And many pharmacies are unable to vaccinate children under the age of 3 because of vaccination training requirements, company policies, and laws in many states. Walgreens And rite aid giving vaccines to children 3 years of age and older, while CVS Giving kids under 18 months a shot with MinuteClinics in-store.

Kaiser Permanente expects to receive vaccine shipments by next week, and said on Monday that members should investigate kp.org For availability of appointments in your area.

Sutter Health said Monday that appointments can be scheduled by phone at 1-844-987-6115 from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and appointments will soon be available on its My Health online patient portal. will also be available through officials asked to investigate Vaccine Resource Page Online for updates.

But parents said the effort was worthwhile. Sarah Anderson Jackson of San Jose spent more than five hours on Monday looking for appointments to take shots of Moderna for her daughters. She finished vaccinating her 4-year-old at Sun Pharmacy on Monday and her 2-year-old Tuesday at the San Martin Clinic in Santa Clara County. She canceled appointments with other providers who only offered Pfizer shots so her oldest modern could get it, hoping she’d be completely safe when pre-kindergarten began in August. He said that he has put off fun things like a trip to Disneyland for too long.

“We live extremely carefully and haven’t taken our kids to places other than the park for more than two years,” Jackson said. “Once they are fully vaccinated, we can proceed cautiously towards living more normally.”

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