The federal government is expected to authorize COVID-19 vaccinations for kids as young as 6 months old this weekend, with the CDC go-ahead vote Saturday the last hurdle to clear before doses can start being administered to babies across the U.S.
The final decision will rest with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, but she is expected to align with her advisers, who are expected to align with the FDA. The FDA also authorized Moderna's vaccine for school-aged children and teens on Friday.
Pfizer's shots had previously been the only ones available for those ages. Federal authorities now say both manufacturers' vaccines have proved safe for that group, and the latest vaccine review for babies involves both vaccines but at lower doses.
Now, officials at all levels of government are ramping up once again as they look to roll out the latest phase of the pandemic recovery effort, distributing vaccines to millions who fall in the expected newly eligible age range of 6 months to just under 5 years. And many parents, understandably, still have questions.
Tribeca Pediatrics, one of New York City's largest pediatric providers with more than three dozen locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island as well as one in Westchester and another three in New Jersey, sought to arm concerned parents with the answers to seven most commonly asked questions on vaccines.
Here are the answers as provided by Tribeca Pediatrics. Get more information from New York City health officials here or reach out to your pediatrician.
1. Should I Vaccinate My Baby Against COVID?
The vaccine has been proven safe and effective for this age group and approved by the FDA and CDC. While younger children generally have not had severe symptoms or illness, we have seen the Omicron variant, a large increase in infection and illness in the younger population. Because there are no safety concerns and the benefits outweigh the risk of illness in children, we are recommending the vaccine.
2. My Child Recently Had COVID. Is Vaccine Still OK?
If they are fully recovered and asymptomatic, the vaccine is recommended.
3. Can My Kid Get COVID Vaccine Along With Other Routine Vaccinations?
Yes. There are no contraindications or limitations in minimal spacing between the COVID-19 vaccine and other routine vaccines, including flu.
4. Does My Child Need All 3 Doses of the Pfizer Vaccine?
Yes, in order to obtain the intended efficacy, the full primary series would need to be completed.
5. Should I Wait Until My Kid Turns 5 to Get the Larger Dose?
We do not recommend waiting. The pediatric dose is proved effective for children within this age range (regardless of the size or weight of your child).
6. Are Schools and Daycares Requiring COVID Vaccination for This Age?
At this time, there is no state requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine at schools. Private daycares and schools may have different requirements.
7. What About Side Effects?
Your child may experience minor side effects including arm soreness, fever, body aches, and fatigue. These symptoms can last 1-2 days.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.