SAN DIEGO – On Tuesday, Rady Children’s Hospital administered hundreds of COVID-19 shots to the youngest San Diegans now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC gave its approval after the FDA approved the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine Friday for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old.

Dr. John Bradley, medical director of infection diseases at Rady Children’s Hospital, said healthcare workers started administering the shots to this newly-approved age group at 7 a.m. Tuesday and had 400 appointments scheduled throughout the day. He anticipates this hospital will administer about 7,000 shots this week alone.

Rady Children’s Hospital pre-ordered the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine so they were ready to administer them as soon as they received full-approval.

“I’m a proud COVID fighter,” 4-year-old Sawyer said, reading off the sticker he received after getting his COVID-19 shot at Rady Children’s Hospital Tuesday.

“I was tearing up, other parents were as well, it’s something that we have been waiting for, for a long time,” Sawyer’s mom, Michelle Millum said. “It’s just a weight and it’ almost a weight that I didn’t even know that I had on my shoulders until suddenly it was like oh he’s got one.” 

The Moderna and Pfizer shots are lower doses, which means kids will need more shots. According to Dr Bradley, the Moderna shots are 2 doses for this age group and Pfizer is 3 doses, with 21 days between the first and second dose, and the 3rd, 60 days later. He said children are not fully protected until after the third dose.

After the shot at Rady Children’s Hospital, kids waited 15 minutes to make sure they did not have any immediate reactions.  

“The side effects of the vaccine is far less in this age group because the amount of the vaccine is much less than in the older age groups,” Dr. Bradley said. “For parents worried that this vaccine was rushed or not studied well enough, we have more data on this vaccine than on any other vaccine we’ve released for this age group in a decade.” 

Dr. Bradley said if your child recently had COVID, he recommends getting them the vaccine within 90 days after the infection, but as soon as 14 days after if your child was asymptomatic.

The physician also recommends booking appointments through My Chart or MyTurn and said parents should call their child’s pediatrician to see when their offices or clinics will have vaccines available.

According to Pfizer, parents should keep an eye out for the following symptoms and seek medical attention, especially during 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine.

The following symptoms may occur after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart
  • Fainting
  • Unusual and persistent irritability
  • Unusual and persistent poor feeding
  • Unusual and persistent fatigue or lack of energy
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Persistent pain in the abdomen
  • Unusual and persistent cool, pale skin