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Posted on: June 23, 2022

Update from BRHD

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Vaccines for Under 5

The Virginia Department of Health’s Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) will begin offering free COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years old starting Friday, June 24, 2022. At this time, vaccines for anyone under 5 years old are by appointment only. 
You can make an appointment for Tuesday, June 28 between 3pm and 6pm at the Louisa County Health Department (540 Industrial Drive, Louisa VA 23093) through https://vase.vdh.virginia.gov/



BRHD's FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccines for Young Children  

Q: What are the new recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in children?
A: As of June 18, 2022, the CDC recommends that children and adolescents ages 6 months and older get a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose series available to ages 6 months to 4 years, and the Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series available to ages 6 months to 4 years. 

Q: Why should young children get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The vaccine is the best way to protect children from becoming severely ill or having long-lasting health impacts due to COVID-19. While children and adolescents are typically at lower risk than adults of becoming severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19, it is still possible. COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death, and tens of thousands of children and teens have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. 
Another important reason for children to get the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect their friends, family, and the broader community from the spread of the virus. The higher the vaccination rates, the lower the chances that the coronavirus will mutate into additional variants. 
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for young children? 
A: Yes. Scientists and medical experts have worked to ensure the vaccine is safe for children and adolescents ages 6 months to 17 years old. Before being authorized for children, these experts completed their review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials involving thousands of children. What’s more, 22 million children and adolescents, ages 5-17 have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. As of June 18, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are also authorized for children as young as 6 months.
Data from trials will continue to be collected for two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that they are safe for the long term. As with all vaccines, there will be ongoing monitoring among people who are vaccinated.
Q: Why did it take so long for the FDA to make a decision about vaccines for children under 5?
A: All the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a rigorous review process before being authorized for a given age group. The FDA’s evaluation of vaccines for young kids has been part of this overall thorough review process. Clinical trials were not started in children until after the trials in adults showed safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Additionally, part of what made the review process longer for young kids is that experts were determining what dosage and series would be safe and effective for children under five. After reviewing initial data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in young kids, the FDA waited to receive additional findings from clinical trials to ensure that its recommendation was based on a substantial amount of clinical data. 
Q: Will children experience any side effects from the vaccine? I’ve heard about myocarditis.
A: Side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines are typically mild and subside in one to two days — like soreness in the arm, fatigue, headaches, or a slight fever.
The risk of a child having a serious adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is very low. One rare complication that has been linked to the COVID-19 vaccine is myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), and data demonstrate a higher risk for such inflammation among younger males. However, reports of these complications are rare. The risk of developing myocarditis after a COVID-19 infection is much higher than the risk of developing myocarditis after the vaccine. 
If you have questions or concerns about getting your child vaccinated, talk to your health care provider or pediatrician.
To learn more about the latest COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 6 months to 5 years, visit the CDC’s website. For more Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 visit the Public Health Communications Collaborative. You can find vaccine clinics at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling the VDH COVID-19 Hotline, Monday-Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm, at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).


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