COVID immunizations for San Diego’s youngest residents are underway

COVID-19 vaccines are finally available for children ages 6 months to 5 years after CDC and FDA approval.

Hundreds of eager parents made appointments at Rady Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, the first day of availability in San Diego.

“We’re just really lucky to finally have the opportunity because we’ve isolated her and ourselves as much as possible to protect her,” said Rancho Peñasquitos resident Aram Chia Sarafian of his 3-year-old daughter, who died among the first was vaccinated Tuesday morning.

“There are some cool resources — we have a book on pandemics and vaccines like a children’s book so she knows,” Chia Sarafian said. “We spoke to her about it. She knows she is doing her part to protect herself and others.”

Two-year-old Wolfgang Gaxiola got his first COVID-19 shot and his mum Lisa said they were on their way to a treat afterwards.

“It’s a bit of a relief,” she said. “I know there are a lot of unknowns with this virus and I feel like the benefits outweigh the risk of having a vaccine rather than getting COVID and not knowing what’s going to happen.”

Families fill Rady Children’s Hospital to vaccinate their youngest

Children are generally at a lower risk of contracting COVID-19, but infections can still be serious. The Rady Vaccination Clinic can only be reached by appointment. Reservations in Rady and elsewhere in the county can be booked at the state’s myturn.ca.gov.

“There are no supply problems,” said Dr. San Diego County Health Officer Wilma Wooten, adding the county ordered vaccines a few weeks ago in anticipation of federal approvals.

Wooten said the vaccines are safe for children and encouraged parents to contact their providers.

“The FDA approved these vaccines — the CDC approved these vaccines,” she said.

Cans for children under 5 are expected to be available at county locations beginning Wednesday. Some pharmacies will also have them available.

Sharp HealthCare spokeswoman Erica Carlson said vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years will be available Tuesday at some Sharp Rees-Stealy pediatric offices, but not at their community immunization clinics.

Kaiser San Diego officials said they would be reaching out to parents to set up appointments. Spokeswoman Jennifer Dailard said doses would arrive Tuesday and vaccinations would begin Thursday by appointment.

UC San Diego Health is not administering them this week. UCSD health spokesperson Michelle Brubaker said they are expected to begin the week of June 27.

Scripps Health spokesman Stephen Carpowich said they are finalizing details and will have more information soon.

Palomar Health officials did not provide information on doses for children under the age of 5.

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