LA plans to give COVID vaccines to children under age 5

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — With final federal approval expected as early as Saturday, Los Angeles health officials were preparing to offer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine doses to children under the age of 5.

According to the county’s Department of Public Health, the county is ready to begin administering the Pfizer vaccine doses as early as Tuesday, assuming the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the final OK to the vaccinations, as expected.

Shots are available for children from 6 months.

County health officials found young children are at lower risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID, but they said the risk was higher in unvaccinated children. They also claim that unvaccinated children are at higher risk of developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

According to the county, unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17 were nearly four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than vaccinated children in the past three months. Among vaccinable children in the county who contracted confirmed cases of MIS-C in the county, 65% were unvaccinated, according to the county.

“As we’ve seen in adults, children can have both short- and long-term health problems from COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, said in a statement. “Vaccinations are a proven safety measure that protects your entire family, now including your youngest children, from serious illness and death from COVID-19.

“While we plan to gather with family and enjoy the summer and upcoming holidays, now is the time to ensure all of our children are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated children and adults provide an essential layer of protection for the entire community, especially with the proliferation of new, highly infectious variants.”

The county on Friday reported an additional 5,122 COVID infections, bringing the cumulative total throughout the pandemic to 3,057,004. Another five virus-related deaths were also reported, bringing the total death toll to 32,250.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose again, reaching 9.3%. Ferrer said the percentage is likely to rise as the volume of daily testing decreases as schools are out of class.

According to government figures, there were 612 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals on Friday, up slightly from 605 the previous day. Of those patients, 69 were being treated in intensive care, up from 65 on Thursday.

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