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CDC Clears COVID-19 Vaccines Everyone Over 6 Months Old, But Hesitancy Remains For Many Parents

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Everyone over the age of 6 months is now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared shots for the youngest children over the weekend, but new polling shows there's still hesitancy among many parents.

Shots for youngsters will be available at drug stores, health clinics and doctor's offices, but in Pennsylvania, children under 3 will have to go to a doctor's office to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccinations are now available for 18 million children under 5. New Jersey has ordered 51,000 doses. Pennsylvania will officially begin vaccinating younger children Tuesday.

"We've been waiting for this for a long time," Dr. Lori Handy with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said.

Handy says while COVID-19 generally is not that dangerous for most children, it can be and the benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks.

"mRNA vaccines are the most studied vaccines of all time," Handy said. "We know their safety data. We've given them to, at this point, billions of people."

The two vaccines that are now available for children 6 months to 5 years old have different schedules for shots.

The Moderna vaccine will be given in two doses one month apart, while Pfizer has three doses over a three-month period.

"We're super excited, super thrilled that they can get vaccinated," parent Avani Mohapatra said.

But only 18% of parents with young kids said they would definitely have them vaccinated immediately, 38% plan to wait and see how it's working and 27% said they don't intend to get their children vaccinated at all.

"I still would probably wait a little bit, see how it goes with everybody getting their shot before I vaccinate my children," said parent Iman Haywood.

Parents are advised to call ahead. The new vaccine doses for children are just now being shipped, so the vaccine might not be fully available everywhere for the next couple of weeks.

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