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Pediatricians Prepare For Toddler COVID Vaccine

BEND, OR -- With the weekend approval of two COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old, many parents are asking which one is better. Dr. John Peoples, with Central Oregon Pediatric Associates, says the two versions are very different. "The Pfizer dose is 3 micrograms, the Moderna dose is 25 micrograms; as such, there are a little bit higher side effects with the Moderna dose. That being said, Pfizer did not demonstrate any efficacy of their vaccine after two doses, so it takes three doses to achieve efficacy. Moderna was able to achieve good antibody levels after two doses and they are testing a third dose." Those side effects in young children, he says, are similar to adults, like  irritability, slight fever and pain at the injection site. 

COPA expects to start giving out pediatric doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. Dr. Peoples tells KBND News he encourages families to get their infants and toddlers immunized, "The benefit of receiving the vaccine far outweighs the risk of not getting the vaccine. It’s much safer to have the vaccine, in terms of protection. And that’s the way all our vaccine trials are designed." He's heard from parents worried about a heart condition possibly linked to the vaccine, and says the risk is small. "Myocarditis that you would get from COVID, there’s a higher risk of that and it’s a far worse outcome than the risk of Myocarditis from the immunization. Also, Myocarditis is much less common in kids 0-5 years of age."

Dr. Peoples says this is an important step in protecting infants and toddlers from preventable death, "Since 2020, 442 children 0-4 years of age have died from COVID-19 and that doesn’t sound like a huge number, but that is in the top 10 leading causes of death for children in that timeframe." He believes we’ll see another surge of the virus in the fall, when kids head back to school, "This is really a very important step because kids 6 months-5 years of age are a huge reservoir of illness and if we can start to protect them, then hopefully we can start to have COVID rates go down overall."

He urges parents to talk to their pediatrician - ask questions to learn about the risks and benefits of both versions.

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