Los Angeles County to Vaccinate Children Against COVID-19 – NBC Los Angeles

Los Angeles County health officials could begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 6 months of age as soon as Tuesday, now that federal officials have approved vaccines for children under 5 years of age.

An advisory panel to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously approved giving COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 6 months of age on Saturday. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed the decision later that day.

The approval applies to vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. “We have been preparing for this moment,” President Joe Biden said on his Twitter account.

“Our Administration has already secured vaccine doses for America’s youngest and is now launching a comprehensive effort with states, local health departments, America’s pediatricians, family physicians and more to help make vaccines reach the arms”.

County health officials noted that young children are considered to be at lower risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, but said the risk is higher among unvaccinated children.

In Los Angeles County, they could start administering vaccines against COVID-19 for babies 6 months and older as soon as next week, spokesmen for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced.

They also contend that unvaccinated children are at increased risk of developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

According to the county, in the last three months, unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17 were nearly four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who were vaccinated.

Among vaccine-eligible children in the county who contracted confirmed cases of MIS-C, 65% were unvaccinated, officials said.

“As we have seen with adults, children can experience short-term and long-term health problems from COVID-19,” county public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

“Vaccines are a proven safety measure that protect your entire family, now including your youngest children, from serious illness and death from COVID-19. The development and approval of vaccines for children under 5 years of age have gone through a rigorous review and approval process as with all other routine childhood vaccines.

“As we make plans to gather with family and enjoy the summer and upcoming vacations, now is the time to make sure all of our children are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated children and adults add an essential layer of protection for the entire community, especially with the proliferation of new, highly infectious variants.”

Meanwhile, the number of positive COVID-19 patients at county hospitals rose by another 27 people to 639, according to the latest state data released Saturday. Of those patients, 67 were being treated in intensive care, up from 69 on Friday.

The county reported another 5,122 COVID infections on Friday, bringing the cumulative total during the pandemic to 3,057,004. Five other virus-related deaths were also reported, bringing the total death toll to 32,250.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus increased again, reaching 9.3%. Ferrer said the percentage is likely to rise as daily testing volume decreases due to schools being out of session.

The county does not report COVID-19 data on weekends.

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