OAKLAND, Calif. - Shipments of COVID-19 vaccine for kids are already beginning to arrive in the Bay Area after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized the shot for children five and younger over the weekend. Santa Clara County was among the first in the Bay Area to receive its shipments, and officials say the health department plans to begin administering shots on Tuesday.
"I would just advise parents to take advantage of the first opportunity to have their child vaccinated," said Dr. Julianne Burns, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Stanford Children’s Health.
The Pfizer vaccine for children is being offered in three shots, and Moderna is being administered in two shots. In terms of which one to pick, Dr. Burns says that in studies, both vaccines have proven to be safe and equally effective at preventing severe COVID-19 in kids. For parents who remain ambivalent about the shot, Dr. Burns says they should turn to their pediatrician.
"It is very important for COVID, because COVID continues to affect the lives of children in so many ways. COVID-19 continues to cause severe disease in children. There’s been over 20 thousand hospitalizations throughout the pandemic in children under five," said Dr. Burns.
As summer approaches, health experts say the COVID-19 vaccines will also allow families with younger kids to finally experience a sense of normalcy.
"That means an opportunity to take that summer vacation, send your kid off to summer camp, send them to a birthday party, get ready for school, things that I know many of us have done with a bit of trepidation over the last couple of years," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary.
For JJ Jackson and his wife, who live in Oakland, pediatric vaccines mean the opportunity to finally introduce their two-year-old to grandma.
"My wife’s from India and we haven’t been able to travel much since they came around, so getting that shot for her, the younger one especially will give us a little more comfort in traveling," said Jackson.
In Contra Costa County, COVID-19 shots for kids start on Wednesday, and in Marin County they begin on Thursday. KTVU has also reached out to other area health departments for their start dates.