Seattle Children’s Hospital administers first COVID-19 vaccines for children under five

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine for infants and children between six months and five years old, and Seattle Children’s Hospital has started vaccinating preschoolers, toddlers, and infants today.

Answering concerns about the safety of the vaccines for those going through such a rapid phase in their development, Dr. Elizabeth Duke, a physician with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, says the shots were put through rigorous tests.

“The FDA generally has had a very thoughtful approach to approving the vaccination data and I’m excited to have those vaccines available for children under five,” Duke said. “It was rigorously tried in children under five in the same way in the rest of the population, so if there was a safety signal [the FDA] wouldn’t have approved the vaccine.”

The shots offer young children protection from hospitalization, death, and possible long-term complications that are still not clearly understood, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) advisory panel said.

This decision also affects the parents of small children, lowering their risk of being infected with COVID-19 due to transmissions at childcare facilities.

COVID vaccine for children avoids ‘devastating’ illness, says Mercer Island MD

“I have seen several transmissions from children in daycare under five to their parents recently, so I think that will help a lot with controlling the spread in our community,” Duke said.

Speaking to the possibilities of side effects that many have experienced due to the vaccine, Dr. Surabhi Vora, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, made it clear that parents had nothing to worry about and that symptoms were mild and similar to those already experienced by millions of adults who have already received their vaccination.

“We’ve seen very mild side effects including fever, fussiness, and fatigue, all of which only lasted a day or two before resolving,” Vora said.

There are also two options of vaccines available, Pfizer and Moderna, both approved by the CDC.

King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin noted that Moderna used a larger dose than Pfizer, and thus reported a higher occurrence of side effects like fever and soreness at the injection site.

It only takes two doses of Moderna over a one-month period versus three doses of the Pfizer vaccine over a three-month period.

Good summary of some of the differences/considerations for the 2 newly recommended vaccines for infants & children from @HelenBranswell

Both are good options.

— Jeffrey Duchin, MD (@DocJeffD) June 20, 2022

For finding appointments to vaccinate your child, you can find information through the King County Public Health Office, or schedule an appointment at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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