After a long wait, COVID-19 vaccine shots starting going into the arms and thighs of 6-month to 5-year-olds locally on Tuesday, June 21.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years old (Pfizer) and children ages 6 months to 5 years old (Moderna) on June 18.
The San Mateo County Health Department will not offer vaccines to children under 5 at its mass vaccination sites or community clinics, stating that the best place for young children to receive the vaccines is in the care of a pediatric provider, according to the department's website. The health department will instead provide small-scale clinics at Early Head Start sites, and plans to provide staffing and administrative support to pediatric providers that serve publicly insured families.
"The major health care systems have confirmed that they are well prepared to offer vaccination to their patients/members who are under 5," the health department said.
Burgess Pediatrics in Menlo Park starting giving children shots on Tuesday, and recommended Moderna over Pfizer because the Moderna vaccine "has more solid evidence for efficacy and achieves full protection more quickly, with two doses." The Pfizer vaccine is three doses.
Parents concerned about side effects and who can wait three to four months for full protection can opt for Pfizer for their kids, as it has a "much lower rate of side effects, especially fever," clinic officials wrote.
Investigators in Stanford University's Pfizer pediatric vaccine study emailed participants after the authorization on June 18: "We want to express our sincere gratitude for your partnership over the past months as we worked together to develop a COVID-19 vaccine for young children. Thanks to you, millions of older children across the globe have already been vaccinated with our COVID-19 vaccine, and now we are able to offer a vaccine for the youngest children."
You can sign your child up for a vaccine through your children's primary care doctor to schedule an appointment. Other options include Walgreens (for ages 3 and up) and CVS (for 18 months and older). Information is also available on myturn.ca.gov.