Children ages five to 11 are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in San Luis Obispo County.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only brand currently approved for ages five through 17. 

Although children tend to have milder reactions to the virus, the CDC still recommends that they get vaccinated. The virus can have both short and long-term effects, in addition to disproportionately impacting those with pre-existing health conditions and potentially spreading it to others.

Until recently, the FDA has warned against the use of the vaccine for children. However, enough large-scale clinical tests have now been conducted for the CDC and the FDA to approve the Pfizer vaccine for kids of this age range.

Clinical trials have demonstrated that a smaller dose of the two-shot vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 for children. Children involved in the trials experienced many of the symptoms that adults did including fatigue, fever and soreness.

“As parents, we all want to protect our children from harm and now we can give them a strong layer of defense against this terrible disease,” County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said.

Currently, parents are still advised to not get the COVID-19 vaccine for their children if they are under the age of four. 

According to a press release from the Public Health Department, appointments will become available the week of Nov. 15 for County Public Health clinics. Offices of individual pediatricians and local pharmacies may have the vaccine sooner.

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