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Local health care departments, hospitals weigh in on expanded vaccine eligibility for young children

KEYT

CENTRAL COAST, Calif. – The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months, and local health experts are preparing.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for emergency use in young children. Kids under the age of five who get the Moderna vaccine will receive two doses, and those who get the Pfizer vaccine are to get three doses.

Each of the vaccines for children includes a smaller dose than the vaccines provided for adults, according to San Luis Obispo County Public Health spokesman Tom Cuddy

The authorization came after large-scale clinical trials were conducted for both vaccines, and the side effects seen in the trials were similar to what adults experienced during their clinical trials, Cuddy said.

The White House said vaccinations for younger children may begin this upcoming week.

At Lompoc Valley Medical Center, CEO Steve Popkin said health leaders took initiative and ordered 400 doses of the vaccine for that specific age group.

"It'll be available through Lompoc Health Pediatrician Offices once they are received," said Popkin. "We expect those to be received sometime this week."

In San Luis Obispo County, vaccine appointments for children under the age of five will be available from pediatricians, public health clinics, and some pharmacies once the shipments begin to arrive locally.

“I hope this news brings comfort and relief to the parents in our community who have been trying to protect their children from COVID-19 without the layer of defense provided by a vaccine,” said Dr. Christy Mulkerin, pediatrician with the San Luis Obispo County Health Agency.

To schedule an appointment, visit VaccineFinder.org or use the state's vaccine scheduling system, MyTurn, starting Tuesday.

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Karen Cruz-Orduña

Karen Cruz-Orduña is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Karen, click here.

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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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