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Shots for tots: COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins for children 6 months to 5 years old

The CDC granted emergency use authorization over the weekend for both the three-dose Pfizer and two-dose Moderna vaccines.

LITITZ, Pa. — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old has begun, following the CDC’s approval of the vaccine for that age group.

The CDC granted emergency use authorization over the weekend for both the three-dose Pfizer and two-dose Moderna vaccines.

There are about 17 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. The federal government initially made about 10 million vaccine doses available to its local partners.

Lititz Apothecary began offering the vaccine to young children on Monday. Since then, pharmacists there have administered more than a dozen shots.

“I think they’re excited that now their kids can, that now the family’s complete,” said pharmacist Dr. Chet Patel. “They don’t have to think about so many different things. Obviously anxiety is reduced.”

Patel said the parents he is seeing sign up are enthusiastic about getting their children the vaccine, but expects to encounter more hesitancy in the coming months.

That lines up with an April Kaiser Health Foundation poll that found only 18 percent of parents of children under 5 were “eager to get their child vaccinated right away.”

Doctors say both vaccines are effective in protecting younger kids from the virus.

Some toddlers, too, aren’t too eager to get the jab. Three-year-old Griffin clung fiercely to his mother, Rachel Morales Fan, when it came time to roll up his sleeve.

Fan, herself a family medicine doctor based in Columbia, said she was relieved to finally get Griffin vaccinated: “I feel wonderful to feel like we finally are getting him protected, too.”

After the shot, Griffin was surprised it didn’t hurt at all. He accepted a colorful sticker as a reward.

“Stickers and lollipops go a long way. That really helps,” Patel said.

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