What to know about COVID-19 vaccines for young children in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – It’s been nearly two weeks since Relycare Pharmacy in Lincoln began vaccinating children under 5 against COVID-19.

“For the most part, our response has been very good,” owner Steve Osenbaugh said. “We’re not doing hundreds, but we are doing vaccinations, like 5 to 10, every day.”

One of the biggest questions medical professionals are asked: What are the side effects?

The vaccines for children have the same potential side effects as the ones for adults: fever, fatigue and headache, according to Dr. Melissa St. Germain, medical director of Children’s Physicians.

Young kids may also show irritability, “which is probably a headache that they can’t tell us about,” St. Germain said.

So far, doctors are not seeing extreme side effects.

“What’s also really encouraging is that so far we haven’t seen any myocarditis in this age group, which we do occasionally see in the older adolescent male populations,” St. Germain said.

Even though many adults have been vaccinated for over a year, doctors are still seeing COVID spread in Nebraska.

“We’re not at that same level of infection that we saw in January, but we saw a real big dip after omicron, and then it’s been steadily creeping back up,” St. Germain said. “At this point, we are still in what we would consider a high-risk category for infection rates across the state.”

One Lincoln family was eager to vaccinate their 5-year-old son.

“He was getting vaccinated because his younger sister, who is 2 ½, has leukemia, and the family really wanted him vaccinated to help protect her also because of her low immune system,” Osenbaugh said.

But some parents may still wait to get their kids vaccinated.

“We’ve had some of them talking to us on the phone, saying that they may choose to vaccinate a little closer to the school year than right now,” Osenbaugh said.

There are two COVID-19 vaccine options for this age group.

The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose option for 6-month-olds to 4-year-olds, while the Moderna vaccine is a two-dose regimen for children 6 months to 5 years.

Check with your health care professional to see which one is the best fit for your child.

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