ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s a moment many parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have been waiting for: the COVID vaccine for this age group got the final approval it needed over the weekend from a CDC advisory committee.
News 8 checked in with our local health systems to find out just how soon parents can expect to book appointments. Pediatricians from both Rochester Regional Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital say they’ve already received several phone calls from parents asking questions about the rollout process and their opinions about vaccinating their young children.
“So the key to understand that this is the same material vaccine. It essentially is a different dose,” says Dr. Stephen Cook, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
“And when we dose vaccines for kids, for teens, for adults, we don’t dose it based on weight, which is a really important thing. It’s more based on age because age is related to exposure to germs and maturity, essentially, immune maturity,” Dr. Cooks adds.
Parents of children 6-months-old to 4-years-old will finally be able to get access to the COVID vaccine soon. It’s the final age group now with an opportunity to get protected from serious illness or hospitalization from the virus.
With mass public health efforts scaling back, and the need for highly specialized training to administer the shots, patience is still key.
“As a system, Rochester Regional Health has already ordered the vaccines and we’re basically just waiting for them to arrive. As soon as they do arrive, we will have a rollout plan in place in terms of booking appointments and how to let parents know,” says Dr. Puneeta Khurana, a pediatrician with Bay Creek Pediatrics.
“So if you’re interested call now. The big difference is there are no mass vaccination sites and there are probably very few if any pharmacies in our region offering this. Pharmacies in general really have the ability to vaccinate, through their licensure, down to about age three,” Dr. Cook adds.
Parents are encouraged to have a conversation with their primary care physician and/or family pediatrician to discuss any concerns or questions, especially if their child is immunocompromised. The vaccines will require multiple visits.
“For the Moderna vaccine you can actually get two shots one month apart but for the Pfizer vaccine, it’s a three-dose primary series, so the first two shots are going to be three weeks apart and then the third dose is going to be at least eight weeks after the second dose,” explains Dr. Khurana.
Rochester Regional Health tells News8 there is already a waiting list for parents with an expressed interest in getting their child an appointment to get the COVID vaccine. This will help to alleviate some pressure on busy family schedules with the doctor’s office able to call the parents once those shipments of the shots arrive.