HARTFORD, Conn— On Friday and Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and voted to recommend children 6 months through 5 years of age to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Parents and caregivers can now get children in this age range vaccinated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Even for children who have had COVID-19, vaccination is recommended.
Although most children have only mild symptoms when infected, COVID-19 can cause some children to become very sick, even to the point of requiring hospitalization. As mentioned in Friday’s ACIP meeting, COVID-19 is the leading cause of infectious disease-related death in people up to 19-years-old, but data shows that those deaths can be prevented through vaccine.
Additionally, ensuring high rates of vaccine coverage among all children has many benefits. Vaccinated children are not required to quarantine if exposed to the virus. High rates of vaccination also can help to reduce transmission of COVID-19 cases, and vaccinating children provides another layer of protection for other family members and the broader community.
The approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6-months old is another major step forward in the overall COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, and as soon as Monday, June 20, parents will have many options for where to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children including:
- Pediatricians’ offices: Hundreds of pediatricians will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across Connecticut. However, not all pediatricians will have the COVID-19 vaccine, so if your child’s provider doesn’t offer the COVID-19 vaccine, please refer to one of the other options provided.
- Pharmacies: There will be hundreds of pharmacy locations that are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children. Pharmacies provide a safe, convenient, and easy location to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, pharmacies have provided special trainings for their pharmacist staff to administer vaccines for younger children.
- Other locations: In addition to the above, several health systems and local health departments will be offering COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5.
- DPH Yellow Van Clinics: DPH organizes mobile, COVID-19 vaccine clinics through its Yellow Vans program. The updated clinic schedule can be found here or by visiting ct.gov/coronavirus
- Residents also are encouraged to visit vaccines.gov to find a convenient location for the COVID-19 vaccine.
We want to remind parents of how pediatricians have provided trusted and proven advice over the years for their children, and that they should feel very confident and comfortable following their pediatrician’s guidance on this vaccine as well.
Over the past two weeks, we have seen a stabilization in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and case rates. Now is the time to make sure that our youngest residents receive the same protection from severe COVID-19 disease as our school-aged youth and adults have had available to them for over a year. We also want to stress that there is no shortage of vaccines available for people of all ages and that anyone who has not been vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The virus that causes COVID-19 is moving its way across the country and there is a very high likelihood that we will see another significant uptick later this year.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health emphasizes that all the tools are in place—including vaccines and second boosters, Test to Treat locations, therapeutics, self-tests and state-supported testing—to help curb the severity of this illness.