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CDC endorsed the recommendation that children ages 6 months to 5 years be vaccinated

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The CDC endorsed the recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that children ages 6 months to 5 years be vaccinated against COVID-19 with either the Pfizer or Moderna pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Molly Howell is North Dakota Department of Health Immunization Program Director.

"So right now, everyone 6 months and older is recommended to be vaccinated against COVID-19. A benefit is that COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time as other vaccines, so if your child is due for some of their routine vaccinations like MMR or Polio, they'll be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as being caught up for other vaccinations."

Howell says that COVID-19 is a significant danger to young children. Throughout the pandemic, there have been more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 in North Dakotan children 6 months through 4 years old, 62 children were hospitalized, and one child passed away.

"The clinical trials for these two vaccines, which are new and in smaller dosages than the vaccines that were authorized for older children and adults, included nearly 8,000 young children and no serious safety concerns were identified. The most common side effects are what you would expect with other vaccines, including pain and redness at the injection site, fatigue, fever, and headache. One thing that has been linked with the COVID-19 is myocarditis, and in children 5 to 11, rates of myocarditis were only slightly elevated compared to background rates, and myocarditis is extremely rare in infants."

The North Dakota Department of Health will receive 5,700 pediatric COVID-19 doses from the federal government. The vaccine will be available at over 100 healthcare provider offices throughout the state beginning later this week or early next week.

Howell encourages parents to talk to their child’s healthcare provider to learn more about the vaccines and explore their benefits and risks.