COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children between 6 months and 4 years of age at county vaccination clinics, Contra Costa County Health Services (CCHS) announced Wednesday.
The move locally comes in the wake of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being authorized for younger children by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last Friday, then by the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday. Prior to that, only children over 5 years old were eligible for vaccinations.
"COVID is now one of the leading causes of death among children in the United States," said county health officer Ori Tzvieli. "Vaccination is the best way to reduce health risks to kids."
Tzvieli noted that while it's true that children are less likely to get sick from COVID-19 infections, it is still possible for some children to get severely ill.
The authorizations from the FDA and CDC mean that approximately 20 million young children nationwide are newly eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. At the county level, the CCHS estimates that 60,000 young children are eligible for the vaccine as of today.
The CCHS recommends that all eligible children, including those who have already had COVID-19, get vaccinated.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given to children in smaller doses. Like adults, children receive both vaccines in two primary doses, with a third booster dose of the Pfizer recommended. Prior to the recent approval and updated recommendations, the Moderna vaccine was only available for those ages 18 and up.
Vaccinations for children ages 6 months and up are now available for appointments at county-run vaccination sites in Antioch, Concord and Richmond. CCHS also announced plans for a series of mobile vaccine clinics throughout the county, with more details to come.