Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

SOME PARENTS HAVE BEEN WAITING A WHILE FOR THIS TO FINALLY COME ON THE MARKET AS AN OPTION FOR THEIR KIDDOS, TELL US ABOUT THE NEW COVID VACCINES FOR THIS AGE GROUP?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the CDC – now recommends all eligible 6 month up to 4 year old children receive a newly authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna’s data on their vaccine doses were reviewed simultaneously so families will be able to choose which dosage they prefer. This is the same basic formula for both vaccines but the makers have tested the dosage amount that is best for this age to find safe and effective protection.

HOW MANY DOSES CAN PARENTS EXPECT FOR THEIR CHILDREN?
We are pleased to see the level of effectiveness for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is a 2-dose series taken 4 weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine is a 3-dose series, with the second dose administered 3 weeks after the first dose and the third dose administered 8 weeks after the second.

WHY DO PEDIATRICIANS AND OTHER HEALTH CARE EXPERTS THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR INFANTS AND KIDS TO GET THE VACCINE?
As more mitigation efforts are lifted and we anticipate the growth of the new Omicron strains (BA4 and BA5), it’s likely that we’ll continue to see positive cases continue to go up throughout the region. Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to reduce the chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus and reducing severity of disease – this new authorization now offers additional protections for our youngest patients who are an important factor to keeping our communities well.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE HESITANT TO TRY SOMETHING THAT MAY FEEL NEW?
Vaccines, not only for COVID-19 but for a variety of illnesses, continue to be a safe and reliable way for us to protect ourselves and our kids and stay healthy. Think about things like polio, chicken pox and tuberculosis that we essentially don’t have to worry about now that we have so many children safety vaccinated and eliminating their chances of contracting and spreading these diseases.

It’s important to know that the COVID-19 vaccines were created based on science that was in development for several decades before finalizing the exact formulations we are seeing for COVID – so while they may feel new, it’s really not. We also know how rigorous the reviews and testing of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for all age groups have been and can be confident that these leading virologist experts made these authorizations with confidence and the greatest concern for the safety of the American people.

WHERE CAN PARENTS TAKE THEIR CHILD?
Carle is scheduling appointments for all pediatric vaccines in pediatrician offices and primary care offices starting at the end of this week so patients can call their doctor and set up time to get in. Just call (217) 902-6100 or schedule through the MyCarle platform.

We also are holding a pop-up clinic to help families get in and out quickly on Saturday, June 25 at the Carle Champaign on Curtis and Carle Urbana on Windsor. Of course vaccines are also available at local retail pharmacies and through many public health departments.

IF ANYONE HAS A SPECIFIC QUESTION ABOUT THEIR OWN ELIGIBILITY OR ABOUT THE VACCINE, WHERE CAN THEY GO?
Carle.org has a lot of detailed information about the COVID-19 vaccines for all age groups including the youngest and you can always call your pediatrician or primary care provider to ask questions.