McKee: COVID-19 vaccines for young children arriving in R.I. next week

COVID-19 VACCINES will be made available for children ages 6 months to 5 years old in Rhode Island next week. / AP FILE PHOTO/MATT ROURKE
COVID-19 VACCINES will be made available for children ages 6 months to 5 years old in Rhode Island next week. / AP FILE PHOTO/MATT ROURKE

PROVIDENCE – On the heals of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 18 recommending the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years old, Gov. Daniel J. McKee announced Monday that vaccines for those age groups are currently en route to Rhode Island and will be made available early next week.

Children, especially those younger than 5, have waited the longest to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine since they first became available in December 2020. Back in October 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized vaccines for children ages 5-11.

On June 14, the FDA authorized the two-dose Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years old, McKee’s office said, while the Pfizer vaccine will require three doses for children ages 6 months to 4 years old. McKee’s office said the doses for children are smaller than those given to adolescents and adults.

McKee said in a statement the state is partnering with many entities in health care to ensure that children can be vaccinated.

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“Getting your child vaccinated against COVID-19 now is an important step that parents and families can take to provide protection this summer and into the fall, when kids are heading back to school,” McKee said.

The vaccines, when they arrive, will be available at various locations across Rhode Island, McKee’s office said. Among the locations are retail pharmacies, health care provider offices and hospitals. Clinics can also be found online at Vaccines.gov, the state said.

The state says there are approximately 56,000 children in Rhode Island younger than age 5 and more than 1.9 million children between ages of 1 and 4 across the U.S. have gotten sick with COVID-19.

Interim R.I. Health Director Dr. James McDonald said in a statement the vaccines have been “thoroughly researched” and parents “should feel confident in the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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