The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose regimen, authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. The first two doses are administered about three weeks apart, followed by the third dose given eight weeks after the second dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently gave its OK to allow the COVID-19 vaccine for babies and preschoolers. The long-awaited decision provides protection from the persistent virus to children from 6 months up to 5 years.
“The benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risk. The vaccine has been proven safe and effective for under age 5,” said Dr. Anna Richie, clinical director of urgent care for Memorial Care, part of Memorial Health. “Parents must make difficult decisions every day, but this one is easy.”
While many infants and toddlers will have mild symptoms, if any, from COVID-19, hospitalizations and death rates are higher in that age group compared to older children, the FDA said. COVID-19 is the fifth most common cause of death for children under 5.
“Many parents have been eagerly awaiting the news that they could vaccinate their infants and preschoolers ever since adults were first able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine some 18 months ago,” said Dr. Ashish John, a pediatrician with Memorial Care on Koke Mill in Springfield. “The vaccine offers strong protection against the worst outcomes of the virus, including hospitalization and death.”
Few side effects have been reported from the vaccine in older children, including fatigue, fever, fussiness and soreness, John said.
“A low-grade temperature is the most common reaction, similar to other vaccines,” Richie said.
Getting your child vaccinated could prevent missed days from work and school as well as transmission to other family members, Richie said.
Children do not need to be current patients of Memorial Care or other Memorial Health organizations to receive the booster. Appointments may be scheduled regardless of where the child lives.
A parent or guardian must be available in person or by phone to provide consent. To schedule an appointment, visit vaccination.mhsil.com. The lab is at 2950 S. Sixth St. in Springfield.