BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some young children are already being vaccinated in Maryland following the federal government giving the approval to allow the shots for those aged five to 11.

Governor Larry Hogan said he will not be mandating the vaccines for children and that parents should decide what is right for their child. “Ultimately, this decision is up to and should be up to Maryland parents and families,” Hogan said at a news conference Wednesday.

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Dr. Kate Connor, a pediatrician with the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren side effects should be mild. “There’s absolutely variation from person to person. It’s important to note that in the pediatric trials, there were no serious side effects or adverse events noted,” Dr. Connor told Hellgren. “Kids did experience side effects that were similar to adults. Vastly, the most common is a sore arm. They can experience some mild viral-like symptoms—a low-grade temperature, some body aches, fatigue.”

Baltimore City released its vaccination plan that involves clinics next week and relies largely on giving vaccines in schools.

The state has updated its vaccination finder online for the expanded vaccinations. You can find it here.

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Maryland is also rolling out a public service campaign to convince parents the vaccine is safe.

Governor Hogan said Maryland has 180,000 initial doses and will be given 50,000 additional doses each week. There are more than a half million children in the five to 11 age group in the state.

The doses for children are one-third the adult dose. In order to be fully vaccinated, children must get two shots. They’re recommended to be given 21 days apart.

“I certainly hear questions and concerns from my patients. National polls have shown that a lot of parents are hesitant about this vaccine. I think it’s important for parents who have questions or worries to reach out to their pediatrician. We have these kinds if conversations with families about vaccines all the time—not just covid vaccines,” Dr. Connor said.

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