SAN JOSE, Calif. - Babies and children under five will be able to be vaccinated against coronavirus next week in Santa Clara County.
Health officials said they'll begin vaccinating on Tuesday for children ages 6 months to 5 years old, assuming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides final approval and vaccine supplies arrive as scheduled.
Pfizer's vaccine for kids younger than 5 is one-tenth of the adult dose. Three shots are needed: the first two given three weeks apart and the last at least two months later.
Moderna's is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids under 6.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to review COVID-19 vaccinations for this age group on Friday and Saturday, following Friday's Food and Drug Administration approval.
Santa Clara County is scheduled to receive its first allocation of the special early childhood formulation vaccines on Monday and will distribute it to designated locations.
Families can make appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations for this age group through www.sccfreevax.org. Links are provided for county sites, as well as healthcare providers and pharmacies. Online vaccination appointments will not be opened until supplies have been secured, which is not expected until Monday afternoon at the earliest. In addition to the current clinic sites available through www.sccfreevax.org, a new county-operated vaccination site will be opening in Mountain View next week.
"We know how long families have been waiting for this moment. This will be our final step in being able to vaccinate everyone in our community, of every age," Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement on Friday. "We know that many families feel great relief knowing that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to keep their young children as safe as possible."
There are approximately 100,000 children younger than 5 years living in Santa Clara County.
Some parents have been anxiously awaiting the chance to protect their little ones.
While young children generally don’t get as sick from COVID-19 as older kids and adults, their hospitalizations surged during the omicron wave and FDA’s advisers determined that benefits from vaccination outweighed the minimal risks. Studies from Moderna and Pfizer showed side effects, including fever and fatigue, were mostly minor.
The vaccines are for children as young as 6 months. Moderna next plans to study its shots for babies as young as 3-months-old. Pfizer has not finalized plans for shots in younger infants. A dozen countries, including China, already vaccinate kids under 5.
Dr. Beth Ebel, professor of pediatrics at University of Washington in Seattle, said the tot-sized vaccines would be especially welcomed by U.S. parents with children in daycare where outbreaks can sideline parents from jobs, adding to financial strain.
"A lot of people are going to be happy and a lot of grandparents are going to be happy, too, because we’ve missed those babies who grew up when you weren’t able to see them," Ebel said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.