COVID-19 vaccines available for Clark County children as young as 6 months

Ezio Hoos, age 5, makes a face while getting his COVID-19 shot in Springfield in November. Children younger than 5 are now eligible for the vaccine. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Ezio Hoos, age 5, makes a face while getting his COVID-19 shot in Springfield in November. Children younger than 5 are now eligible for the vaccine. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

The Clark County Combined Health District is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children as young as 6 months old.

Clark County assistant health commissioner Chris Cook and Rocking Horse Community Health Center pediatrician Dr. John Pascoe hosted the weekly public health livestream update on Friday afternoon.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control last week granted emergency authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children as young as 6 months old.

Clark County has seen more than 100 cases reported to the health district for four weeks now, with more than 200 reported this week, Cook said.

“This small, gradual surge we’ve been experiencing for a number of weeks is continuing,” Cook said.

As of Friday, more than 36,000 cases of the virus have been reported in Clark County, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

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Clark County’s community transmission level remains “low” this week, per the CDC.

Pascoe said the vaccines are safe and well-tolerated. Side effects in children typically include some swelling at the injection site. Low-grade fevers are also a common side effect.

“It’s showing that it saves lives,” Pascoe said of COVID-19 vaccines. “It’s clear the vaccine in older kids is shaping the pandemic: the disease is milder. We expect it to do the same in younger children, too.”

Pascoe said it’s important for children to be vaccinated to prevent severe illness for themselves and to prevent the spread of the virus to older people.

The Pfizer vaccine is a three-shot series for 6 months through 4 years. Each dose is one-tenth the adult dose. The first two doses are three weeks apart and the final dose is given two months after the second. Moderna’s vaccine is a two-shot series for ages 6 months through 5 years. Each dose is one-quarter the adult dose and is given four weeks apart.

The Clark County Combined Health District will offer COVID-19 vaccines on Thursdays and Fridays by appointment throughout June and July. Those interested in scheduling an appointment for their young child can call the health district or schedule an appointment on the health district’s website.

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“We’re excited to be able to do this,” Cook said.

The health district has Moderna vaccines to distribute. Dayton Children’s Hospital has doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

The CDC recommends that all children in that age range, including those with prior COVID infections, be vaccinated to prevent serious disease. Pascoe said vaccination will decrease the likelihood of reinfection.

Children in the 5-11 age group became eligible for the vaccines last fall. Roughly 19% of people in Clark County under the age of 19 have completed their vaccine series, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In Ohio, the bulk of COVID-19 cases reported statewide have fallen in the 0-19 age category, according to the Ohio Department of Health, with more than 500,000 cases reported since the pandemic’s beginning.

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