COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months and older are now available at clinics in the Treasure Valley.
Primary Health is now scheduling appointments for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for people 6 months and older, with an exception for the 6-11 age group for the Pfizer shot due to temporary unavailability.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available for patients 18 years and older.
Both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have now approved the vaccines for the 6-month to 5 years of age group.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare pre-ordered vaccine doses for children ages 6 months and older and began receiving them this week. Now, IDHW is focusing on answering parents’ questions.
“We will be, for the long haul, really working on education efforts for parents and providers and really parents if they have hesitation to talk to their child’s health care provider about the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19,” Idaho Immunization Program Manager Sarah Leeds.
While children are less likely to be hospitalized by COVID-19 — the virus affects everyone differently and IDHW says vaccination is the best form of protection.
“We are anticipating a similar surge at the very beginning and then a slow drop-off,” Leeds said.
Children 6 months through 4 years old will get a three-dose series. Young kids get a smaller dose than adults.
St Luke’s Health System says they are about two weeks out from vaccinating this age group and focusing on safety before making the doses available.
“We want to make sure that we really get it right and part of getting it right is having all of that really written into the electronic records so it really drives decision making and has all the safety catches that it can to make sure we are doing the right thing,” St. Luke’s Medical Director of primary care Dr. Laura McGeorge said.
About 1 in 6 children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated in Idaho while just over half of state residents of all ages are fully vaccinated.