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Pediatric offices preparing for COVID-19 vaccine approval for kids under 5

Pediatric offices preparing for COVID-19 vaccine approval for kids under 5
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:24 PM EDT
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LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The FDA has authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for the youngest population in the upcoming week. Now, local pediatricians are preparing their offices for shipments as they await on final guidance from the CDC.

Local pediatricians are starting to pre-order their doses of the vaccine for the youngest population and Springfield city officials hope this approval will help bring down their COVID-19 numbers.

The youngest population of 17 million may now soon be protected by COVID-19. The FDA announced on Friday their authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for those six months to five years old. Now, the CDC will decide whether or not to recommend the shot and they are expected to vote on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Dr. John Kelley with Redwood Pediatrics in East Longmeadow is preparing his office for their first shipment of 100 doses.

“It does prevent serious illness and that’s what I’m in the job of doing: preventing serious illness with vaccination,” Kelley said.

Kelley told Western Mass News that he’s ordering only the Moderna vaccine since it is only two doses, compared to Pfizer’s three doses.

“It’s convenient and also it’s easier to get compliance in two shots, then to have to schedule three,” Kelley added.

He said parents of the age group have already started asking him about the vaccine for their child and he plans on suggesting the vaccine for all of his patients, so long as it’s fully approved.

The decision comes as Hampden County is still in the red category for COVID-19, according to the CDC. However, Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said Springfield’s numbers are on the decline.

“The city of Springfield, over the past three to four weeks, has seen a decrease in our numbers, so we’re pleased our numbers are going down,” Caulton-Harris explained.

At the peak of this year, there were 797 COVID-19 cases in the city for the week of May 15. For the week of June 5, there were only 304 cases.

Caulton-Harris said she urges all Springfield residents to get vaccinated, but as for the little ones, she said it’s important that parents speak to their child’s doctor about the shot.

“I do hope parents think about checking in with their pediatricians to make sure that it’s appropriate for their child. However, I believe it’s going to help our numbers,” Caulton-Harris added.

The CDC is scheduled to vote on the recommendation tomorrow and the White House said shots could be going out as early as next week.