EAST PENNSBORO TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Kids under five are now eligible to get COVID vaccines. They’ll be available in the Midstate as early as Tuesday.
There are a number of parents who are excited to get their toddlers vaccinated but there’s still some hesitation for others.
Jessica Vogelsong has three kids under the age of five and she’s excited for the chance to protect them all against COVID.
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“We are big believers of vaccines and this one was no different,” Vogelsong said.
The youngest kids can now either get a three dose series of the Pfizer vaccine or two doses of Moderna.
“The data shows that these are moderately effective vaccines. We don’t see those 90% effectiveness rates that we saw in the early days of clinical trials and you wouldn’t expect to see that because these trials are done at a time when Omicron is the major circulating variant,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, Pittsburgh-based infectious disease doctor and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Ryan Mordoff, visiting from California, plans on getting his 4-year-old Annie vaccinated.
“We’ve had a crazy uptick at their school recently. Like it’s been worse than it’s ever been so we figured like we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe,” Mordoff said.
While some plan to line up immediately, Adalja expects the uptake to be limited.
“I do think that probably about 20% 25% of parents of children under the age of five will be lining up to get this vaccine, especially if their child has high risk maybe has asthma, immunocompromised,” Adalja said. “But if you look at the five to 11 age group, only about 30% of those children are fully vaccinated.”
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Dean Pletcher’s twins have been vaccinated against many other diseases, but is iffy on the COVID shots.
“The two things that I’m iffy about are the fact that at least Pfizer’s and Moderna’s are mRNA vaccines so they work differently, Pletcher said. “The other thing is they haven’t been out long enough like the other vaccines they get to really know a long term effect on kids this young.”
Adalja insists they are safe vaccines that will decrease the rate of severe disease, hospitalizations and death.
“The more people that are vaccinated, the more manageable COVID-19 becomes as an infectious disease,” Adalja said. “And if you look at children under the age of five, about 45,000 of them have been hospitalized and about 400 have died. And we vaccinate for things that are much less serious all the time like chickenpox, like rotavirus.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health says that pharmacists are only allowed to provide vaccines to children ages three and older. So, parents should contact their pediatrician or family doctor if they want to schedule a vaccine appointment for children younger than three.