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Parents, pediatrician react to Moderna seeking approval of COVID-19 vaccine for young children

A huge step forward for parents of young children was announced Thursday as the first COVID-19 vaccine may soon be cleared for those under the age of five.
Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A huge step forward for parents of young children was announced Thursday as the first COVID-19 vaccine may soon be cleared for those under the age of five. Moderna put in a request today for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve low dose shots for this youngest age group.

Parents we spoke with told us they feel safe letting their young children get the COVID-19 vaccine. We took questions to one local pediatrician to see if other parents should feel the same.

Today, Moderna asked the FDA for emergency authorization for their low-dose COVID-19 vaccine for children ages six months to five years old - the one age group still waiting for a shot.

Magda Villanueva of Holyoke has a four-year-old. She told us she would get her child vaccinated once the shot is available.

“I believe they should get it. Last year, I had COVID really bad. I was hospitalized for two weeks,” Villanueva said.

Other parents we spoke with agreed.

“I think it probably is at least as safe as them acquiring COVID. I think many of us have underlying health conditions including children. I think if the FDA approves that, then it’s probably a great idea,” said Jodie Paradise.

We checked in with local pediatrician Dr. John Kelley at Redwood Pediatrics to hear his professional opinion on Moderna seeking FDA approval for the shot.

“I think, assuming that it’s approved and vetted as it has been so far, I think it’s a great idea because this will be the last group of folks that are eligible for vaccines in the United States,” Kelley explained.

Kelley told us the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will both need to look at data carefully before putting the final stamp of approval on the shots for kids under five years old. He also noted that parents should not be skeptical about the vaccine based on the data already published.

“You can still catch COVID even with the vaccine, but you’re likely to have a milder illness…Looking at the antibody response, it’s very similar to the antibody response they saw in older children who do get that protection, so that should apply to the younger children too and that’s the key thing to this vaccine,” Kelley said.

Kelley told us he expects the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under five to be available by June once it passes FDA and CDC approval.