With U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization for all pediatric COVID-19 vaccines officially going into effect last month, some doctors in Florida say they are now receiving the new doses.
What You Need To Know
- The FDA authorized pediatric COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months in June
- Pediatrician Dr. Mohammed Afzal said he's been waiting for the approval for some time
- The hope is, he said, that vaccinating younger children will help significantly slow the COVID-19 pandemic
The new shipments are for children aged 6 months to 4 years old.
Dr. Mohammed Afzal said he has been looking forward to this moment for quite some time.
“If we can stop the spread of this virus, we will not have a lot more new variants coming in,” he said.
For the past two years, he worked the front lines of an unexpected pandemic while tallying up two decades of being a pediatric specialist in Clermont.
"It was tough, especially during the lockdown period,” he said.
Afzal said he’s confident the expansion of vaccine access is a practical step to making the coronavirus pandemic a thing of the past.
He believes that with these shots, young children will be able to build up their immunity to the virus, which could ultimately limit the spread to populations who might be more susceptible to becoming sick.
The most recent strain of the coronavirus that’s kicked up, BA.5, "is the fifth variant of Omicron going on,” Afzal said.
It can cause flu-like symptoms even in young children who haven’t been getting as sick because of COVID, he said.
“If the children are sick, parents will have to stay home and take off from work," Afzal said. "Children can not go to school, and those sick children can also spread COVID to older folks in the family."
Although variants can evolve, the pediatrician said that the main aim of vaccines is to limit how many people get sick, which also means reducing hospitalizations and dealing with fewer severe cases of the virus.
Afzal said he's hopeful to have a clinic soon to grant even more people access to vaccination resources.