NORTH CAROLINA — Starting June 20th, COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the state for children ages 6 months to 5 years.
On Saturday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that a COVID-19 vaccine will become available to North Carolinian babies, toddlers, and preschoolers as soon as next week.
This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both approved and recommended the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old.
The vaccine dose for this age group is even smaller than the dose for ages 5 to 11. Booster shots are not yet recommended for children under 6 years of age.
Like all routine children’s vaccines, these vaccines were independently tested and reviewed by the CDC and FDA. There were no safety concerns or serious side effects were found for either vaccine during clinical trials.
Ongoing clinical trials started in March 2021 and showed that the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective to protect younger children ages 6 months to 5 years from COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for three doses. The Moderna vaccine is currently approved for two doses. Moderna is also testing a third dose. The results of that study are expected to be available this summer.
NCDHHS recommends parents and guardians contact their child’s pediatrician, medical provider, or local health department as to when the vaccine may be available.
In addition to doctor’s offices and health centers, children ages 3 to 5 also have the option of receiving a vaccine at a pharmacy or grocery store.
If a child does not have an established medical provider, parents and guardians can visit MySpot.nc.gov to find a nearby vaccine provider.
Children can receive other vaccines in the same visit as their COVID-19 vaccine. This is also a good time for children to get a routine checkup.
Children may experience minimal and temporary side effects similar to adults, like a sore arm, headache, and being tired or achy for a day or two.
According to the CDC, children under 5 years old have the highest hospitalization rate compared to other pediatric groups.
COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalization, death, MIS-C (inflammation in different parts of the body) and long-term symptoms that last for months.
Anyone over 6 months, including adults, can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine, even without insurance and regardless of immigration status.
For more information on how vaccines work and to find a vaccination site, visit MySpot.nc.gov anytime or call the North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at 888-675-4567. Their hours are 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.–4 p.m. on weekends.