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Eastern Carolina families react to vaccine approval for children under 5

Children under 5 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
Children under 5 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine(Deric Rush)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - U.S. regulators on Friday authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers.

That means U.S. kids under the age of 5 — roughly 18 million youngsters — are eligible for the shots.

The FDA also authorized Moderna’s vaccines for school-aged children and teens and the CDC is set to make its determination next week. Pfizer’s shots have been the only option for those ages.

Families in Onslow County weighed in on the news of the approval.

“The first question... just wondering why it took so long?” Martha Toodle, an Onslow County grandmother of two said.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says it has more than 367 providers across all 100 state counties signed up to receive and administer vaccines.

As of Friday, the DHHS has preordered 118,600 doses of the vaccine for distribution to providers across the state, and shipments may arrive as early as Monday.

The FDA says Pfizer’s vaccine for kids younger than 5 is one-tenth of the adult dose. Three shots are needed: the first two are given three weeks apart and the last one at least two months later.

Moderna’s vaccine is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids under 6. The FDA also authorized a third dose, at least a month after the second shot, for children who have immune conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illnesses.

Both vaccines are for children as young as 6 months. Moderna next plans to study its shots for babies as young as 3 months. Pfizer has not finalized plans for shots in younger infants.

A dozen countries, including China, already vaccinate kids under 5, with other brands.

The DHHS says the Pfizer vaccine will be available in almost 200 pharmacies in North Carolina through a federal vaccine supply.

The vaccine will be available and administered in pediatric and primary care offices, pharmacies, local health departments, and federally qualified health centers by staff trained to do vaccinations for children.

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