1st vaccine doses administered to babies, preschoolers in Bay Area

The first babies, toddlers and preschoolers in the Bay Area are getting their COVID vaccines -- the pediatricians at East Bay Pediatrics expect to give 100 first doses on Tuesday alone. 

There are two different vaccine options for parents with kids in this age group: Moderna's vaccine will come in two doses, for kids 6 months to 6 years old. And Pfizer's vaccine will be a three dose series of shots for children between the ages of 6 months to 4 years old. 

East Bay Pediatrics only ordered Moderna shots, as they expect them to be the most popular because kids will have immunity faster: 6 weeks instead of 8 weeks for Pfizer's shots.

Parents said they're relieved the vaccines are finally available for this age group. 

Parent Rob Broesler said he is aware of the risks for vaccinating young children, but in the end, the shots will give him peace of mind. 

"We know that the risk is low for our kids to get acutely sick from COVID," he said. "But There's a lot of life stuff that can happen - losing childcare, and the worry and the stress, so it's more about peace of mind."

Jackie Morgan, a new mom with a baby girl, said she's relieved.

"It's been a long time coming," she said. "She's so little. I'm excited for her to be protected."

Nationwide, about 20 percent of parents say they plan to have their kids, younger than age 5, get these shots as soon as possible.  That's according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 40 percent of parents across the country say they plan to wait and see. 

In the Bay Area, vaccine uptake is much higher than the state and national average. So the pediatricians here say they've seen very high demand for these shots.

Their appointments today are all pre-scheduled and pre-booked. 

But the doctors at East Bay Pediatrics say they are planning some weekend, drop-in vaccine clinics for their patients, in the weeks ahead.

"This is just another little bit of hope that parents can have to move beyond the fear and anxiety of the pandemic," said Dr. Ted Handler. "We don't expect it to be a panacea for symptomaic transmission, but we do expect it to prevent severe disease."