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COVID-19 vaccine doses for children under 5 off to slow start on first day of availability in NYC

Slight delay greets families looking to get children under 5 vaccinated
Slight delay greets families looking to get children under 5 vaccinated 02:12

NEW YORK -- City parents of children under 5 were told they could begin registering their kids for COVID vaccines at some point Tuesday, but CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported so far bookings and doses don't seem to be available.

Carmen Rapisarda has been eagerly waiting to get her 4-year-old grandson vaccinated, so she can feel safe taking him to Disneyland in two weeks.

"He has asthma. He's on a pump every day, and that worries me constantly. My daughter is worried constantly," Rapisarda said.

Last week, the FDA expanded emergency use authorization for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for this youngest age group.

"There's nothing. I've called 311. I've called every pharmacy in the neighborhood -- CVS, Walgreens, everything, private pediatricians," Rapisardo said.

Duddridge also called a number of pediatricians' offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, but they said they're still waiting on doses.

However, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday afternoon the city has received a shipment of vaccines and will open up appointments for its vaccine hubs at around 9 p.m.

READ MOREFDA recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines for children under 5

The Pfizer vaccine is one-tenth the strength of the adult version and requires three doses. Moderna's vaccine has a higher concentration of mRNA vaccine, and would only require two shots.

"I think, good, protect the baby," one parent said.

"It's better off to be safe, especially for children," parent Enzo DiTommaso added.

Preliminary data shows Pfizer is more than 80 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection with no side effects, while data shows Moderna's vaccine is 51 percent effective in preventing illness in children between 6 months and 2 years of age, and 37 percent effective in 2-to-5-year-olds.

Still, some parents aren't sold.

"They're too young to be going through that. Not me, myself, yeah, but I wouldn't give my daughter no vaccine," Starasia Kent said.

"Just how young they are ... I still think there's still a lot of unknowns with the vaccine," another parent said.

It's still unclear how much demand there will be for this youngest age group. Only 29 percent of children under 12 have been vaccinated since they became eligible for Pfizer's shot last November.

On Wednesday on Long Island, the first shots go into the little arms at 11 a.m. at Cohen Children's Medical Center. 

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