FLORIDA, USA — Children as young as 5 years old are now eligible for a kid-sized dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC gave the shots a green light Tuesday.
The vaccine is one-third the size of the dose given to teens and adults and is given over two shots administered three weeks apart.
The Biden Administration says it will soon have enough vaccines for the nearly 28 million elementary-aged children.
Select CVS, Publix, Winn-Dixie and Walgreens stores in Florida are accepting appointments for children in the coming days.
Hillsborough County is also offering the vaccine for children as young as five at its sole vaccine site at Progress Village Park in Tampa. The site is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointment is needed.
10 Tampa Bay's Shannon Clowe spoke with Dr. Nancy Silva with Small World Pediatrics in Wesley Chapel to find out what parents should know about the vaccine.
Know it's safe
Dr. Silva stresses the vaccine is safe and effective for children. “It has been deemed 91 percent effective in the 5-11 age range," Dr. Silva said.
Know the risks of myocarditis
Dr. Silva explained there are risk factors when it comes to myocarditis, especially in boys. Dr. Silva stressed, even if your child has a preexisting condition, doctors could still recommend the vaccine as the safer option. “If you have a preexisting condition then get COVID, you’re more likely to get myocarditis with that as well, so we still recommend it," she stated.
Know the side effects
Dr. Silva explains it's common for kids to have pain where the vaccine was injected and some kids could experience a fever. “A lot of parents are concerned about what are the side effects. The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, swelling, some people get headaches, GI symptoms, loose stool, for example, fevers are possible as they are with any vaccine," she stated.
Know it's quick and painless
The needle used to give the vaccine to kids is smaller. The dose children will receive is also smaller. In Dr. Silva's experience, the shot has been painless for most kids.
Know your child should be hydrated before and after the vaccine
“What I tell everyone to do, is to make sure you are fluid loading," Dr. Silva went on to explain that means making sure your child is drinking water or even juice before and after the vaccine to stay hydrated.
Know to keep physical activities to a minimum after
Dr. Silva says it's best to make sure your child relaxes and takes it easy after the shot. Participating in strenuous sports could put your child at risk. "You’re going to be more likely to get dehydrated and put a strain on your heart and your body so we don’t recommend that," she added.
Know you can talk to your pediatrician
Dr. Silva explained, if you are a parent with concerns, talk to your child's doctor to figure out the best plan of action based on their health history.