Delaware’s pre-ordered COVID-19 vaccines for ages 6 months through 5 years old were expected to start arriving Monday, June 20.
They will go to medical providers who pre-ordered them, but not all did.
Parents of those children should be able to have the kids vaccinated starting Tuesday, the Division of Public Health announced, after the drugs were approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Saturday.
Not everyone is a fan.
“Everything in medicine is a risk vs. reward calculation,” said Dr. Christopher Casscells at the Caesar Rodney Institute Center for Health Policy. “Since there is a 0.00% chance of infant death from COVID, there is no possibility of a relative benefit and a definite known risk. I would vehemently not let my grandchildren be vaccinated for COVID.”
2 vaccines available
Moderna’s is a two-dose series, and is one-quarter the adult dosage, for children ages 6 months through 5 years old. Estimated effectiveness varies based on age, Public Health said.
The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose primary series that is one-tenth the adult dosage and is authorized for children 6 months through 4 years old, as their vaccine for 5-year-olds is already approved. It has an estimated effectiveness of 80% after the third dose.
Side effects were generally mild, and no serious side effects were identified.
For Moderna, the most commonly reported side effects across all ages included pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, fever and underarm swelling/tenderness at the injection site.
For Pfizer side effects included irritability, decreased appetite, fever, headache, chills and pain, tenderness, redness and swelling at the injection site.
Public Health has published a chart explaining the differences between the two vaccines.
Where to find a vaccine
The division recommends parents contact their pediatric health care provider for specifics on scheduling and timing.
Parents can find a provider list on the website, too.
Vaccines will be available from pediatricians/primary care providers, Public Health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Some pharmacies, but not all, will vaccinate the younger children.
Vaccine supply and access are expected to increase as the week goes on.
“We are incredibly happy and relieved that a COVID-19 vaccine will now be available to our youngest population starting at 6 months old,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the department.
She said the department recognized the concern that parents with young children faced waiting for the vaccine to become available.
“It is our hope that parents will consult with their child’s provider or the appropriate medical facility to determine the best option for them,” she said.
While children and adolescents are typically at lower risk than adults of becoming severely ill, the number of infants and children under 5 who were hospitalized during the winter Omicron surge was 5 times the rate of the fall 2021 Delta surge.
The CDC said 64% of hospitalizations in children under 5 years occur in those without other conditions.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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