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COVID-19 vaccines to be available for younger children soon, but many parents still hesitant

FDA signs off on COVID-19 vaccines for younger kids, but many parents still have questions
FDA signs off on COVID-19 vaccines for younger kids, but many parents still have questions 02:52

CHICAGO (CBS) -- COVID-19 vaccines for kids as young as 6 months old will be available as soon as next week.

The Food and Drug Administration approved shots from both Pfizer and Moderna for babies, toddlers, and young children on Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still need to sign off, but that authorization is likely to come in the next few days.

For the Moderna vaccine, children would need to get two shots one month apart. For Pfizer, it would be three shots spaced over 11 weeks.

Doses for both manufacturers' vaccines are a fraction of what adults get.

Children tend to be mildly affected by COVID-19, but doctors are encouraging vaccinations even at ages as young as 6 months to reduce the chances of reinfection.

Experts also want the tiniest of tots to avoid getting sick at all to forgo the possibility of long-haul COVID.

"If the vaccine can help her stay in school, and she won't miss as many days, if it's keeping kids in the classroom, then I'm all for it," mom Rachel Marcus said of her 3-year-old daughter, Olympia.

Even so, Marcus had mixed feelings about getting Olympia vaccinated right away, because of a reaction she's had to other vaccines.

"I have to prepare for that financially, to stay home with her because of the reactions," she said. "Hives, and high temperature, and feeling just overall unwell. So I just want to make sure it's safe for her, but I am fully vaccinated, and so I chose it for myself, and I definitely want it for my daughter."

A Kaiser poll taken earlier this spring found fewer than one in five parents would get their children under 5 vaccinated right away.

Jamal Cooks is fully vaccinated himself, but unsure about what to do for the light of his world, Chloe, who is 3 years old.

"I'm not like 100% no, no, but if her momma ... I don't know, we have to really maybe wait a minute, and then see," he said.

Mother of five Catherine Lopez doesn't question the science. 

"I think most parents are a little bit nervous about it. It's something that feels new," she said.  

Her older kids are vaccinated, but she reasons her 4-year-old can skip a dose for now, because the whole family's caught COVID twice.

University of Chicago Medicine pediatric epidemiologist Dr. Allison Bartlett said, "The actual infection is not a substitute for vaccination."

Bartlett wants to remind skeptical parents about how well the vaccines worked for older children and adults.

"Billions of doses of these vaccines have been given, in terms of safety data," she said.

We wanted to know about mothers who were vaccinated while pregnant, and then got boosted while breastfeeding.

"Immunity from the mother starts to wane, and even the immunity that a kid gets from breastfeeding isn't ... it's better than nothing, but it's not as strong as vaccination, and the child getting their own antibodies," she said.

Bartlett had some advice for moms and dads worried about their kids getting fevers if they get vaccinated.

"I think fever is definitely always a risk with most vaccinations. That's your immune system responding the vaccine," Bartlett said.

Bartlett said, like other age groups, the biggest side effect she anticipates for young kids getting the vaccine is a sore arm.


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