North Carolina pediatricians, families prepare for COVID-19 vaccine rollout to kids under 5

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The United States is closer than ever to allowing people of all ages to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

It's something Ashton Edwards has been looking forward to for some time. She has a 1-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

"I think it would mean a lot," Edwards said. "It would make me feel more comfortable with sending them to day care."

The Cary mom's thoughts come as FDA advisers voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of allowing COVID-19 shots for children under 5.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is preparing for the rollout of vaccines to children under 5 as soon as next week.

"A vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as soon as this weekend, and vaccinations in North Carolina could begin the week of June 20," NCDHHS said.

More than 300 pediatric offices statewide have enrolled, as well as some pharmacies such as DJ Pharmacy in Cary for children 3 years and older.

WakeMed's Dr. Karen Chilton said she expects the rollout to look differently from when it happened early on in the pandemic.

"What I really expect, especially because this is that youngest age group, and we know that they are at less risk of severe illness or hospitalization, I really expect that the majority of this vaccination effort will occur in your pediatrician's office," Chilton said.

Although the age group has had a pretty small rate of hospitalization, according to Chilton, she recommends parents consider the vaccine because we don't know what the future variants hold.

"The more of the community that we have vaccinated, the more protected our entire community is," Chilton said.

Pediatricians, including at WakeMed and Duke Health are waiting for more instruction from the state but WakeMed said appointments are required and parents can book appointments online via WakeMed MyChart.
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