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franklin county times

CDC authorizes COVID-19 vaccine for children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for the youngest of potential victims.

A two-dose Moderna vaccine series is now recommended for children ages 6 months through 5 years. Alternatively, a three-dose Pfizer vaccine series is recommended for children ages 6 months through 4 years.

The Alabama Department of Public Health had 55 healthcare providers who preordered 18,300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and this vaccine is being directly shipped by the federal government. Vaccine orders opened for other healthcare providers, including public health departments, beginning June 22.

According to medical authorities, COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death, and tens of thousands of children and teens have been hospitalized because of the virus. While children and adolescents are typically at lower risk than adults of becoming severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19, the effects of the virus are unpredictable.

In addition, at least 149 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome of Childhood have been reported in Alabama during this pandemic.

MIS-C is a condition in which various body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C require hospitalization and significant high-level medical care.

To reduce hospitalizations and risks of MIS-C, children should be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to healthcare providers. Vaccination is safe, effective and the best way to protect children from COVID-19.

According to the CDC, before the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for children across age groups, scientists and medical experts reviewed safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials involving thousands of children.

More than 11 million children and teenagers have already been vaccinated against COVID-19.

All COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a rigorous review process before being authorized for a given age group. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluation of vaccines for young children has been part of this overall thorough review process.

Clinical trials were not started in children until after trials in adults showed safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

Experts report part of what made the review process longer for young children was determining what dosage and series would be safe and effective for children younger than 5. After reviewing initial data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in young children, the FDA waited to receive additional findings from clinical trials to ensure its recommendation was based on substantial clinical data.

According to medical professionals, side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are typically mild – such as soreness in the arm, fatigue, headaches or a slight fever – and subside in one to two days. The risk of a child having a serious adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is low.

One rare complication that has been linked to the COVID-19 vaccine is myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, and data demonstrate a higher risk for such inflammation among younger males; however, reports of these complications are rare.

For more information about protecting your children from COVID-19, about the vaccines or about myocarditis, the CDC recommends speaking to your healthcare provider or pediatrician.

The initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine for children is limited and will be distributed to healthcare providers, pharmacies and county health departments. Go to vaccines.gov to locate a provider.