Young children now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Children age 6 months to 5 years may now receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon, after a flurry of weekend activity to approve Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine. While children could begin to receive the vaccine as early as today (Monday, June 20, 2022), most providers won’t have vaccine in their office, so please contact your provider before taking your child to get a vaccine. Some providers will receive vaccine shipments today, while others won’t have their shipments until later this week, or even after that.

Approval of the vaccine followed the usual protocol, with an FDA committee finding that the benefits of either the two-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series for infants age 6 months through 5 years, or the three-dose Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for infants and children 6 months through 4 years of age substantially outweigh any known or likely risks. Later, the full FDA endorsed the recommendation, and over the weekend, it was endorsed by the CDC, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, on which Oregon relies for such decisions.

Having your child vaccinated against COVID-19 will help keep them from becoming severely ill with the virus, and help keep them from spreading it to others.

Parents with questions are encouraged to talk to their child’s health care provider to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the importance of keeping children up-to-date with all the recommended vaccinations.

Some tips for parents of young children being vaccinated are here.

OHA provides update on COVID-19 and expansion of vaccines for youngest children

Oregon Health Authority held its monthly media availability today, providing an update on COVID-19 in Oregon and the status of state and federal reviews taking place through this weekend for vaccines for children under 5 years of age.

Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA, highlighted the latest data trends, showing that hospitalizations for COVID-19-positive patients in Oregon have hit the peak projected by current modeling and that Oregon still continues to have a high level of community spread.

Sidelinger also provided an update on the next steps in federal and state reviews for authorizing Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years of age and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years of age. He noted that in Oregon, children under 4 were the most hospitalized age group during last winter’s Omicron wave.

Sidelinger was joined by Dawn Nolt, M.D., professor of pediatrics (infectious diseases) in the OHSU School of Medicine, who explained vaccine safety and what Emergency Use Authorization means for this age group, including reduced risk of severe disease.  

Nolt emphasized that — as a pediatrician, an infectious disease doctor and parent — her key advice is that children get vaccinated as soon as they can. “Vaccines protect small children, but also protect entire family units, as children can get and spread the coronavirus.”

Here are the talking points from today’s media availability. You can also watch it here.