Covid vaccines for children age six months and older are now available in Fresno County. Photo by CDC on unsplash.com
Written by Gabriel Dillard
Pfizer and Moderna have received the green light to administer Covid vaccinations for tots — and they are now available in the Central Valley.
On June 19, the US Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control granted emergency use authorization for the vaccines following clinical trials for children as young as 6 months.
The Fresno County Department of Public Health began distributing the infant and toddler vaccines to physicians and clinics who in turn began administering the shots on Monday.
“Extensive research trials and real-world experience in those who have already received the Covid-19 vaccine have demonstrated an excellent safety profile,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for Fresno County. “Having the vaccine available for younger children is critical in keeping them safe and protecting them from the worst outcomes of Covid-19.”
Madera County Department of Public Health has received doses but is not yet administering them out of caution. They are waiting to receive supplies of epinephrine, an allergic reaction medication. A spokesperson for the department said although there is not a set date on the calendar for distribution to clinics and administration, it’s expected in the next few weeks.
Messages left for health officials at Kings and Tulare counties were not returned by Tuesday afternoon.
Pfizer received authorization for children 6 months through 4 years old, and Moderna received authorization for children 6 months through 5 years old. Pfizer’s vaccination is administered as a three-dose series for young children, the first two being three weeks apart and the third dose eight weeks after the last dose. Moderna’s vaccine is a two-dose regimen administered four weeks apart.
Common Covid-19 vaccine side effects in children include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and fever. Side effects last a few days and are normal signs that the immune system is building protection against Covid-19, according to health officials.
Covid-19 in children has presented other illnesses along with it, like Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare but serious illness that causes inflammation up to eight weeks after having Covid-19. MIS-C is thought to be an immune response, though delayed and severe. It can cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs.