Hundreds in the Valley book appointments to get COVID vaccine for children under 5

Sophia Silvaamaya, Pedro Silvaamaya, Kelly Vanderwende
Posted at 10:21 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 11:26:25-04

COVID-19 vaccines are one step closer to becoming available for the last age group still ineligible to receive them.

An FDA advisory panel voted to expand emergency use of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children as young as six months. The administration said the vaccines are safe and effective for this age group and that the benefits outweigh any risks.

The next step is for full FDA approval, then the CDC.

Here in the Valley, parents are watching the vaccine developments closely. Local doctor’s offices are preparing. Some are already booking appointments for younger kids.

Physician Assistant Jeff Crosby and the team at Pleasant Pediatrics opened future appointments this week for parents wanting their children under five to get the COVID vaccine.

By Wednesday, he says more than 200 people had already signed up with most being people who are not even familiar with his office.

"People have known, for a while, that we are a place that vaccinates non-patients,” said Crosby.

Pleasant Pediatrics has already requested a new shipment of vaccines and is feeling confident the FDA and CDC will give the final green light to the expansion.

The office hopes to begin giving the shots next week.

"It gives the public an option. It gives the option to take the vaccine to prevent COVID if they want it,” added Crosby.

The opinions on vaccines for young kids are certainly mixed. ABC15 caught up with parents visiting a Valley library.

"I just think the scientists are being careful and are trying to make sure they are doing the necessary research and testing to make it safe for kids,” said one father.

"I think they are giving parents the impression that it is safe when it is absolutely not,” said Kim Pappenfuss.

While some parents are looking forward to the idea of getting their young kids vaccinated for COVID, others say they are not. In fact, Crosby says the medical community expects a smaller percentage of American children under five would get the shot.

"It's low. Most of the studies done, as far as surveying who is going to do it, it's been in the 20s percentage-wise in terms of people who have said yes they are going to vaccinate their young children,” added Crosby.

Federal health officials acknowledge the heightened emotions surrounding vaccinating young children and say clear communication to parents about the vaccine will be incredibly important moving forward.

As for the rollout of vaccines for younger kids, state officials tell ABC15 they would be shipped to providers directly from the manufacturer.