Pediatricians prepare to vaccinate kids under 5

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ARLINGTON, Va. (DC News Now) — Following approval from the Federal Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pediatricians and pharmacies across the country are preparing to offer Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to kids between 6 months and five years old.

The decision to recommend the shot, which will either take two or three doses depending on the vaccine, comes after a lengthy study and review period. Bridget Zambon-Dickinson, a toddler, was a part of a vaccine clinical trial. Her mother, Kat Zambon of Washington, D.C., enrolled her in the trial after consulting her pediatrician.

“To know that we can help contribute to the research that is going to make the vaccine something that everyone will have access to really makes me proud to be a part of that,” Zambon said.

Pediatrician Sarah Hesselmann of Pediatrics of Arlington will be one of many who will help get the vaccines into the tiny arms starting on Tuesday.

“We’ve had a lot of parents throughout the entire last year asking when these vaccines were going to be available,” Hesselmann said. “And here they are.”

But it doesn’t come without skepticism. Hesselmann said parents have expressed concerns over the newness of the vaccine, as well as worries about side effects. She responded by explaining the history of mRNA research and the positive findings of the study.

A May survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed just under 1-in-5 parents of kids under five would immediately vaccinate their child. But Hesselmann hopes the detailed review and sheer number of vaccines already given will help guide parents’ decisions.

She also hopes conversations with pediatricians will help.

“You get to know your pediatricians from birth through teenage years so through that early phase of life the pediatrician is the go-to for a lot of parents’ questions,” she said.

Hesselmann herself will take her young daughter to get vaccinated on Tuesday, along with Zambon if Bridget did get the placebo.

That moment, for both of them, will be a moment about a lifetime in the making.

[Bridget] was born a few weeks before — a few months before — the pandemic started,” Zambon said. “So this has been most of her life. It’s been pandemic.”

The role of pediatricians is only made more important because federal law blocks pharmacies from vaccinating kids under three unless they have a medical clinic similar to a CVS Minute Clinic.

Not every CVS has one. In fact, there are just five in Washington, D.C., according to the CVS Minute Clinic search tool you can use here.

Meanwhile, parents will have several other options for vaccinations. Local governments and health departments will offer the shots, as will many pediatrician offices, and pharmacies — at least for those between three and five years old.

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