It’s a moment many families have been waiting for, the final group of children in the U.S. to be approved to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. On June 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years old.
When Sanford Health started administering Pfizer’s vaccine to that age group June 24, Andrew Zeigler, 2, was one of the first Sanford Health patients in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to receive the vaccine.
The moment is finally here
Andrew’s mom, Bethany Zeigler, M.D., is a family medicine physician at the Sanford 26th & Sycamore Clinic. She said the day Andrew could get vaccinated is one she’s been waiting for.
“I’m getting him vaccinated because I think it’s really important for us. I’m really excited to finally have this opportunity to do it,” said Dr. Zeigler.
She loves to travel and said she will have a peace of mind when Andrew goes with her now since he will have this extra layer of protection.
“We’ve come a long way in our COVID journey, and it’s really exciting to have this be the next phase that we’re breaking out into,” said Dr. Zeigler. “It just gives me really good hope that we can really conquer this too.”
Andrew will get two more doses after the first he received on June 24. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids 6 months to 4 years old is a three-dose series. The first and second doses are given three to eight weeks apart and the third dose is given at least eight weeks after the second dose.
Talk it out
This vaccine has gone through a rigorous process with the FDA and the CDC to make sure it’s safe and effective for kids 6 months to 4 years old. Dr. Zeigler encourages families to talk with their child’s provider about the vaccine and its benefits.
“I feel like my job is to give people information so they can make the best decision for their family,” she said. “When somebody is hesitant, I usually want to ask what their reservations are and try to address that specifically.”
She shows families research and scientific data on the vaccine while encouraging them to get information from reliable resources, instead of social media.
There are several reasons why Dr. Zeigler tells patients to consider getting vaccinated. Even though COVID-19 tends to hit older populations harder, this vaccine can still protect young kids from complications of COVID-19, long COVID, hospitalization and even death. The vaccine protects not only the people who receive it but also everyone around them.
“There’s a huge number of children from that 6 months to 5 years old range,” said Zeigler. “So being able to get those children vaccinated is really important to try and protect people who are unable to get vaccinated or who might be at higher risk.”
How to get children vaccinated
Vaccine availability varies by region. Parents and guardians can schedule their children to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Sanford Health primary care locations.
Appointments are preferred and can be made through My Sanford Chart or by calling your preferred Sanford Health clinic.
Information in this story was accurate when it was posted. As the COVID-19 pandemic changes, scientific understanding and guidelines may have changed since the original publication date.
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Posted In Children's, COVID-19, Immunizations