CDC expands COVID vaccine eligibility; Cincinnati Children’s offers it by appointment only

Area providers can begin vaccinating children between 6 months old and five years old following Saturday’s official CDC recommendation.

The CDC said this eligibility expansion will allow nearly 20 million additional American children to get vaccinated. All Americans older than 6 months are now able to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Smaller doses of the standard Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for this new age group. Children who receive the Pfizer vaccine will receive three rounds of a small dose, while children who receive the Moderna vaccine will receive only two rounds of a small dose.

Clinical trials in this age group were ongoing when the more-spreadable Omicron variant became more common, whereas the studies for adults took place before major variants. Thus, data shows the vaccines to be less effective against preventing outright illness in this younger age group than in adults.

The Pfizer vaccine proved to be 80% effective for the age group while the Moderna vaccine only reached 50% efficacy for children ages 6 months to 2 years old; 37% for children ages 2-5 years old. Moderna said the study was completed during the Omicron wave, whereas only part of the Pfizer trial was during the Omicron wave.

ExploreState readies for rollout of COVID vaccine for youngest children

Despite a lower efficacy, Moderna noted that no clinical trial participants experienced a severe case of COVID-19, and there were no serious adverse reactions to either vaccine. It’s believed that any approved vaccination will help a person fight off a case of COVID-19 more easily.

Data from the CDC shows that younger Americans have lower vaccination rates. For kids ages five to 11, there’s only a 29% full vaccination rate. For kids ages 12 to 17, that rate nears 60%.

At the time of reporting on Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Health’s official vaccine appointment booking website had not been updated to allow appointments for children younger than 5 years old.

Explore5 controversial Ohio bills left unfinished for the summer

In a statement, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said she encourages “…parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.”

Barrett Brunsman, a spokesperson for Cincinnati Children’s, said the hospital will begin appointment-only vaccinations at its main site and its satellite campuses, including the campus in Liberty Twp.

“Cincinnati Children’s will add the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 6 months to 4 years old,” Brunsman said in an email. Cincinnati Children’s will not provide the Moderna vaccine for this age group.

About the Author