BALTIMORE — COVID-19 vaccinations for young children have arrived at medical facilities throughout Maryland.
This past weekend, federal officials approved vaccinations for children as young as 6 months old up to 5 years old.
In Maryland, Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations will start being administered in young children on Tuesday, June 21.
Many parents have been waiting for this day.
RELEASE: MDH today announced that all Marylanders 6 months old and older are now eligible to receive a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine. On June 18, the @CDC authorized Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children 6 months old and older.— Maryland Department of Health (@MDHealthDept) June 20, 2022
Learn more: https://t.co/3cBaatfWkR pic.twitter.com/GfXOjJU645
Local health departments are gearing up to vaccinate the younger population and they encourage parents to be proactive with setting up appointments.
"I called the pediatrician office this morning and there's already a waitlist for the vaccine. So, I'll have to go online and sign up for the waitlist," said parent Aisha Diamond.
Many parents are voicing the same concern.
Health experts said there may be long waits but it's best to put your name on the list, rather than not at all. '
Pediatricians believe the vaccine will help keep children safe.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this year COVID-19 cases spiked among children because of the omicron variant.
Health experts said, right now, COVID-19 is the top infection resulting in children getting hospitalized.
"It's very important families understand how dangerous COVID-19 can be for kids. Every time we find an infection that we can prevent with a vaccine, we should pursue that," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, from Johns Hopkins.
For families who are hesitant, health experts say it all begins with a conversation.
"There were more children recruited for the studies for the vaccines for kids six month to five year olds, then there were adults recruited in the 70 year plus age range, so from my standpoint, the researchers did their due diligence to prove safety and efficacy. I will say, please talk to your pediatrician because they know your child the best," said Dr. Galiatsatos.
Marylanders can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or calling the GoVAX Call Center at 1-855-MD-GOVAX.
“We welcome having COVID-19 vaccines to help protect our youngest Marylanders against severe illness, hospitalization, or even death from this virus and strongly encourage parents to vaccinate their children,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We have been preparing to receive these COVID-19 vaccines and, utilizing our vast network of pediatricians, family practitioners, federally qualified health centers, pharmacies, and local health departments, will begin distributing them equitably across the state right away.”