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COVID vaccines for kids under 5 could be administered by LA County next week

Los Angeles County health officials were preparing to begin offering pediatric COVID-19 vaccine doses to children younger than age 5, now that the CDC has recommended them.

The county is prepared to begin administering the Pfizer vaccine doses as early as Tuesday, according to the county Department of Public Health, assuming the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the final OK to the shots, as anticipated.

Shots will be available for children as young as 6 months old.

County health officials noted that young children are considered at lower risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID, but they said the risk is higher among unvaccinated children. They also contend that unvaccinated children are at higher risk of developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

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

“As we have seen with adults, children can experience short and long-term health problems from COVID-19,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Vaccinations are a proven safety measure that protect your entire family, including now your youngest children, from severe illness and death from COVID. The development and approval of the vaccines for children under age 5 have gone through a rigorous evaluation and approval process as with all other routine childhood vaccines.

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

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