COVID-19 vaccines now available for everyone older than 6 months |

COVID-19 vaccines now available for everyone older than 6 months

A year and a half after the first COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Routt County, the youngest members of the community have now been approved to get a shot.

On June 18, the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that children from 6 months through 5 years should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. These children can get either the Pfizer or Moderna shots, the CDC said.

All Americans older than 6 months are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are getting doses and we are distributing them to pediatricians,” said Routt County Public Health Director Roberta Smith last week.

Unlike previous vaccine eligibility expansions that saw large clinics, Smith said it is best for these younger children to see their pediatrician to get this vaccine. The vaccine can be ordered in quantities of 100, so Smith said Public Health is ordering shots and then distributing them to local providers.

These childhood vaccines will be available on Colorado’s vaccine buses as well, though it is not scheduled to return to Steamboat for at least two weeks. A vaccine bus was in Steamboat on Friday, June 24, and Smith said many of the appointments were children age 4 or younger.

Each of the vaccines for younger children are different from the ones those age 5 and older have already received.

The Pfizer vaccine for young children consists of three doses, with the second given three weeks after the first and the third eight weeks after the second dose, according to the CDC. The size of the actual dose is just 3 micrograms, which is about one-tenth of the adult dose, according to the New York Times.

The Moderna shot consists of two doses, with the second coming between four and eight weeks after the first. These shots are 25 micrograms, or about a quarter the amount in the adult dose.

Both vaccines have shown to create a similar immune response as they did in adults and they are safe, the CDC says.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations.”

Everyone else over the age of 5 is eligible for a booster dose, provided it has been at least six months since their second dose. Four months after their booster dose, a second booster dose is recommended for people over the age of 50.

Dr. Brian Harrington, Routt County’s chief medical officer, said if you have factors that put you at high risk for a severe case of COVID-19, he would recommend getting a fourth dose now.

“Most people are well beyond six months now and your immunity does vary quite a bit after four to six months,” Harrington said. “I think this is a very opportune time to get your (second booster) dose.”

Cases of COVID locally have slightly declined in the last week with county public health reporting 104 in the two weeks from June 8 to June 21.

“We’re anticipating that we are going to see more cases in the fall,” Smith said. “So we’re really getting out those vaccination messages.”

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