Parents of children ages 6 months through 5 years old gained the ability to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 as of June 21, the Delaware Division of Public Health announced.
Vaccines for this youngest age group received final sign-off for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration June 17 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention June 18.
Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were authorized, with slight differences between the two. Moderna offers a two-dose series of vaccine, which is one-quarter the adult dosage, for children ages 6 months through 5 years old. Estimated effectiveness varies based on age.
The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose primary series that is one-tenth the adult dosage and is authorized for children 6 months through 4 years old, as its vaccine for 5-year-olds is already approved. It has an estimated effectiveness of 80% after the third dose.
Side effects were generally mild, and no serious side effects were identified. For Moderna, the most commonly reported side effects across all ages included pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, fever and underarm swelling/tenderness at the injection site. For Pfizer, side effects included irritability, decreased appetite, fever, headache, chills and pain, tenderness, redness and swelling at the injection site.
DPH has a chart at de.gov/youthvaccine explaining the differences between the two vaccines.
Initial shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were to be delivered to medical providers who preordered one or both of them; not all providers preordered vaccine initially. DPH strongly recommends that parents contact their pediatric healthcare provider for specifics on scheduling and timing. Parents are encouraged to visit de.gov/youthvaccine for a list of providers offering vaccines.
“We are incredibly happy and relieved that a COVID-19 vaccine will now be available to our youngest population starting at 6 months old,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We recognize the concern that parents with young children have faced waiting for the vaccine to become available as they look for ways to protect their youngest from this virus. It is our hope that parents will consult with their child’s provider or the appropriate medical facility to determine the best option for them.”
Vaccines will be available from pediatricians/primary care providers, DPH clinics and federally qualified health centers. In addition to DPH clinics, a few additional providers have agreed to vaccinate non-patients. That information will be added to de.gov/youthvaccine as it becomes available.
Pharmacies will also vaccinate infants and children in this age group. However, it is important for families to know that not all will vaccinate children under age 3. Locate participating pharmacies at vaccines.gov. The database has added a feature which allows pharmacies to enter the lowest age they are willing to vaccinate and should show up when parents search for a vaccine for this youngest age group.
Parents or guardians with questions about which vaccine is right for their child should consult their pediatric provider or family doctor/health care provider. It is anticipated that most parents will turn to pediatric providers to vaccinate infants and children in this age group.