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Kids under 5 are approved for the Covid vaccine—here’s what to know about getting children the shots in SF

A health worker examines a baby as routine vaccination of babies are started after 20 days of birth in Deir al Balah, Gaza on September 09, 2020. | Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CDC gave the final green light Saturday on vaccinating kids as young as 6 months, with shots in young arms expected early next week, almost two years after the vaccine became available for adults. 

Now that the option will soon be available, how can parents go about getting young kids inoculated? 

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health suggests starting out by seeking one-on-one guidance from a trusted pediatrician, who can offer an expert opinion about a treatment that’s still a special formulation for babies and toddlers.

San Francisco County expects to receive an initial shipment of 12,800 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Monday, then begin vaccination by mid-week. More supply is on the way, and that number does not include shipments to health care providers such as Kaiser, UCSF, Dignity and Sutter Health.

Public health officials expect San Francisco’s initial shipments will be enough to vaccinate most of the 40,000 children under 5 who live in the city.

The Pfizer vaccine, which was previously available for children 5 years and older, will be administered in three doses. The first two doses will be given three weeks apart and the final dose eight weeks after. 

The Moderna vaccine, which was only available for adults until now, will be administered in two doses a month apart. 

Physicians called the vaccines for children a relief—and a literal life-saver. 

“Many parents, caregivers and clinicians have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children and this action will help protect those down to 6 months of age,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said in a prepared statement. “As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of Covid-19, such as hospitalization and death.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the timeline for children's eligibility.