In a couple days, Central Oregon parents will have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine for their kids under six years of age.
“We want to prevent her from getting COVID. She hasn’t gotten it so far,” said Kristina Bennettcheney, a Bend mom.
Bennettcheney is choosing to vaccinate her two year old daughter, who recently started preschool.
“She’s already getting some viruses and stuff as, you know, that’s normal when you start preschool but if we can avoid any serious illness we want to so we’re excited about it,” Bennettcheney said.
“Kids under six are a huge reservoir of COVID illness and a lot of parents are feeling a little nervous and unprotected so I think we’re very excited to see it,” said Dr. John Peoples, a pediatrician at COPA.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine will be available for kids under six, with Moderna administering two large dose shots and Pfizer offering three smaller dose shots.
“We saw similar side effects that we saw in the older group of children and adults meaning fever, irritability, headaches, fatigue,” Peoples said “Those side effects are a little bit higher in the Moderna immunization and that’s not super because the dose is higher 25 micrograms for Moderna and three micrograms for Pfizer.”
In trials for the younger age group, severe side effects were not found but could still be possible when administered on a large scale.
Manuela Price, another Bend mom, got her eight-year-old son vaccinated as soon as he turned seven and wished the vaccine was available earlier for her child.
“I come from a country, Argentina, where when we were little we were really, you know, we got a lot of illnesses like scarlet fever and we were just sick a lot and without the vaccines provided to us we weren’t going to live a full life,” Price said.
“Of the kids 0-5 that ended up in the hospital, 1 in 4 ended up in the ICU during the Omicron surge,” Peoples said.
However, Some parents I spoke to voiced concerns about getting the vaccines for their little ones.
Those parents declined to be on camera.
“To each its own, if the side effects outweigh the risk of getting COVID then don’t do the vaccine,” Price said.
“We only think about, ‘what’s the risk of the vaccine?’ Remember, there is a risk to not vaccinating,” Peoples said “The risk of not vaccinating is much higher than vaccinating.”
If you’d like to get your child under 6 years of age vaccinated against COVID, doses are available at local pediatric facilities through appointment and vaccination clinics.