Children 5 years old and younger already qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine, but some parents are still unconvinced and have questions about it.
Most of the parents with whom I have spoken are waiting for the vaccine to have a little more study– so that it can be applied to their children.
The county says the primary purpose of the vaccine is to prevent serious complications, deaths and long-term impacts. So far, two hundred and sixty-five children ages 11 and under in the county have been hospitalized for Covid, while two have died.
We take common questions from parents to Dr. Geoffrey Leung, county public health officer.
“The main goal of the vaccine is to prevent serious complications, hospitalization, death, and subsequently the long-term repercussions of COVID,” Leung said.
What are the possible side effects?
“The chance of side effects is very low in children younger than 5 years old,” Leung said. “The most common things that we see are what we see in adults, that is, immediately after the injection, children may have some fever, some discomfort in the arm, they may feel tired. And those side effects tend to go away in the first day or two. However, we are concerned about possible long-term side effects related to COVID infection.”
Which COVID vaccine should my child receive?
Children can receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in child-sized doses.
“Both appear to be very effective and very safe,” Leung said. “So we’d recommend either, including what’s available at your pediatrician’s office or local pharmacy.”
If I am vaccinated and have breastfed my child, do I still need the vaccine?
County health officials said they encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already, to help pass immunity to their child. However, health officials said that once the child is old enough, she should receive the COVID vaccine.
Why should I vaccinate my child under 5 years of age if most older children have not yet been vaccinated?
In the county, only 6% of children ages 5-11 have received their first two COVID shots since qualifying in November 2021.
“What we have seen is, and what we believe is, that parents believe or feel that children are not getting symptoms that are severe,” Leung said. “The vaccine works really well to keep people out of the hospital to prevent deaths and prevent long-term complications from COVID. For parents who are undecided, we encourage you to talk to your doctors. the risks associated with your child getting COVID versus being protected by the vaccine.
When and where will COVID vaccines be available for children under the age of 5 in Riverside County?
County health officials said vaccines for children under the age of 5 are not yet available in the county, however they expect them to be ready by next week.
Leung said parents can get their children vaccinated at their local pharmacy or doctor.
Once immunizations are available in the county, parents can use the following two websites to schedule an appointment:
Governor Gavin Newsom advocated for the new age group to receive the vaccines. In a statement, he announced that he pre-ordered nearly 400,000 doses to be administered at the more than 8,500 vaccination sites statewide.