By Annie Rose Ramos

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — COVID-19 vaccines for young children are on the way to Maryland days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided the shots should be made available to children under the age of 5.

The CDC and the FDA have both given their approval to administer two COVID vaccines to children as young as six months old.

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But some Baltimore mothers are hesitant to vaccinate their children.

“They’re too small to take whatever is in the vaccine,” Diana Escalera said, holding her 1-year-old son. “To put something in a child very young and not allow their immune system to just fight off whatever it is, I think it’s a little bit too much.” 

Another mother, Xianna, said she feels unsure about the vaccine too. 

“Maybe if she gets older,” she said, pointing to her 3-year-old daughter. 

The Maryland Department of Health said the vaccines should start to arrive Monday and will be available throughout the state starting this week. Appointments are now available at the State Center Vaccination, Testing and Treatment Site in Baltimore, and at various pharmacies for children age 3 and older.

“We welcome having COVID-19 vaccines to help protect our youngest Marylanders against severe illness, hospitalization, or even death from this virus and strongly encourage parents to vaccinate their children,” said Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis Schrader.

The secretary said the state has been preparing to receive the vaccines and is utilizing its network of health providers to “begin distributing them equitably across the state right away.”

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The health department said it has also issued a bulletin directing vaccine providers to immediately make the vaccines available to those six months and older.

The CDC’s vaccine advisory panel recommended two vaccines for children ages six months to five years old over the weekend—the Pfizer-biotech and Moderna vaccines. 

Both vaccine doses are smaller than the shots for adults, “to get the same level of protection with the least amount given and the least amount of side effects,” said Dr. Susan Lipton, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. 

Doctors say the side effects are minimal. 

“They may be fussier, they may be a little more fatigued and not want to do anything in a day or two,” Lipton said. 

The recommendation expands eligibility to nearly 20 million additional children.

But as for Xianna, she plans on doing more research before she decides what to do for her daughter. 

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“Especially on later health risks, you know further down the line,” Xianna said.

Annie Rose Ramos