COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Wednesday, pediatric doctors from Prisma Health announced children as young as 5-years-old in the Midlands can get their COVID-19 shot as early as Thursday, Nov 4.
The CDC and the FDA both approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11. During a virtual press conference, doctors with Prisma said the vaccine is safe, and only a third of the dosage for adults will be used for kids.
Pfizer announced on Tuesday that the vaccine is 91% effective for children.
Dr. Caughman Taylor is the Senior Medical Director for Pediatrics at Prisma Health in the Midlands. He said this news is a big step at protecting our children.
"With the flu season coming, it is just so important that we take all the precautions we can to get kids protected from this virus," Taylor said. "Even if they've had COVID, the data's out there that they should get vaccinated."
No appointments are needed to get a vaccine, but a signed consent form from a parent or legal guardian is required.
The vaccine site at the Prisma Children’s Hospital in Columbia will be open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mon-Fri.
The vaccine site located on Calhoun St. will be open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Friday. On Saturday, it will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For the addresses of the locations: Click Here.
Dr. Robin Lacroix, Senior Director and Pediatric Infectious Disease Doctor for Prisma Health in the Upstate, said looking at the tests, children could experience side effects similar to those in adults.
"A sore arm, which you get when you get routine tetanus or other immunization, fatigue, some headache, some achiness and some of the children had fever," Lacroix said. "So, those particular side effects are the ones parents should be on the look out for and the recommendation around treating those symptomatically with acetaminophen, just to help with the symptomatic relief is the recommendation."
Some parents in the Midlands said they are not going to give the vaccine to their kids until more tests are done for that specific age group.
One parent told News 19, she is excited to protect her son and this will relieve her stress for infection when he goes to school.
"My husband and I's family have been vaccinated," said parent Ever Collier. "We're all in the process now of being vaccinated with the boosters. And so we just been waiting on the final word from the FDA and CDC for 5-year-old's to be vaccinated. So we are looking to get our son scheduled as soon as possible to get his first dose."
According to Dr. Taylor, pediatric offices associated with Prisma Health will not be giving out the vaccine at this time but will soon be distributing them.
The state's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), mobile vaccine clinics, and some pharmacies will be giving out the pediatric vaccine as well.