SAN DIEGO — Rady Children’s Hospital began COVID-19 vaccinations early Wednesday for the 5- to 11-year-old age group.
Children began receiving kid-size doses of Pfizer’s vaccine at 7 a.m. after the federal government gave final approval Tuesday afternoon. The doses are a third of the amount given to teens and adults.
Millions of shots from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech were shipped to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies ahead of the CDC’s decision.
FOX 5 talked with Rady Children’s doctors and families as inoculations began throughout the day Wednesday. Hospital staff was prepared to administer 1,000 vaccines to patients and children of staff members.
“The vaccine is judged to be safe and effective for children 5 to 11 and the benefits really outweigh the risks,” Dr. John Bradley, the medical director for infectious diseases at the hospital, said.
“Everyone realizes that you can prevent deaths from influenza and what we now know is that deaths from coronavirus are far greater than influenza,” Bradley added. “So if we’ve got universal vaccines for kids for flu — it just makes sense that we should have universal vaccines for COVID.”
“It only felt like a pinch and then it doesn’t hurt anymore,” 9-year-old Clara Hannum said shortly after she got her shot.
She was with her mom, pediatrician Teresa Odea, who said they were eagerly awaiting the green light to get Clara vaccinated.
“I cried when the CDC voted yes,” Odea said. “I was just so thrilled, all my friends, family and patients. We’re just so ready for this vaccine, so it’s a great day.”
Clara said once she’s fully vaccinated, she’ll finally get to travel to Virginia to see her grandparents, who she hasn’t seen in about two years.
“I really wanted to get vaccinated so I wouldn’t get COVID,” said Troy, another one of the first local kids to get their shot. His mother told FOX 5 she’s confident in the research and what the data shows.
“It’s your kids, so I get that it’s scarier than doing something to yourself,” she said. “But the data is so far really good for this age … I think the risk of COVID to them is more than this vaccine.”
FOX 5’s Misha DiBono contributed to this report.