Pediatricians worry about 'wait and see' approach as vaccine rollout for children under 5 begins

As hospitals and clinics distribute the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine for 6-month- to 5-year-olds this week, health experts acknowledged parents' hesitancy but said the "wait and see" tactic leaves children vulnerable to the surge expected this fall.

"It's a little challenging to play the timing game with young children in particular, given that we're looking at a three-dose series for one of the vaccines," pediatrician and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Richard Besser, MD, told USA Today. "If you want your child fully protected in the fall ... I wouldn't wait."

Pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics Chair Yvonne Maldonado, MD, echoed Dr. Besser's statement. 

"Families with infants and toddlers need and deserve the same chance to protect their children against this virus," Dr. Maldonado said in a June 18 press release after the CDC and FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines for children under 5 for emergency use. 

Although young children are at low risk for the virus, the CDC has reported 485 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. among children younger than 4.


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