This is an exciting week for me and many other parents of young children.
Following the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children at least 6 months old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending vaccination for all children. Nearly 400,000 Arizona children in this age group are now eligible for this safe and highly effective protection from severe illness.
This recommendation applies even if your child has already had COVID-19. Among the reasons:
- Young children may be at less risk from COVID-19, but they are not immune from severe outcomes and long-term effects. As with measles, whooping cough, and other diseases, vaccination is the surest way to make sure your child’s immune system is ready to fight off infection.
- Children are effective spreaders of disease. Having eligible family members vaccinated helps reduce the risk to others, including older relatives and others with weaker immune systems.
- COVID-19 vaccines have provided safe and highly effective protection to millions of other Arizonans, including hundreds of thousands of children 5 and older.
Arizona providers, including health care providers and retail pharmacies, have pre-ordered more than 60,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. We expect many to be ready to vaccinate children under 5 years old starting tomorrow. Many more doses will follow in the coming weeks.
Retail pharmacies are able to vaccinate ages 3 and older, so I suggest parents of kids who are younger than 3 first contact their child’s health care provider. We also are updating our Vaccine Finder at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine so parents can filter for providers that can vaccinate children 6 months and older.
I plan to have my young child vaccinated without delay. If you are a parent of a child at least 6 months of age, I hope you will join me in extending this potentially lifesaving protection to your kids.
We have information on vaccines for children available at azhealth.gov/VaccinesForKids. If you have questions about whether COVID-19 vaccination is right for your child, I strongly encourage you to contact your health care provider and consult other reputable sources of information, including the CDC and your local health department.