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Pa. officials stress safety, necessity of COVID jab for youngest kids | Friday Morning Coffee

The vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ acting Pa. Health Secretary Dr. Denise Johnson said

July 22, 2022 7:12 am

(Commonwealth of Pa. photo).

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With a health clinic in Harrisburg as a backdrop, two of the commonwealth’s top public officials stressed the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccinations for the youngest Pennsylvanians.

“It is reassuring to know that we have a safe and effective way to protect our children from COVID-19-related illness,” acting state Health Secretary Dr. Denise Johnson said during Wednesday’s event at the Dauphin County State Health Center in Harrisburg’s Kline Village neighborhood.

“Even if your child has already had COVID-19, they should still get vaccinated,” Johnson, who’s also the state’s physician general, continued. “Emerging evidence indicates that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after they have been infected with the virus.”

State health officials announced last month that providers were ready to start giving the COVID-19 jab to kids as young as six months old after getting the green light from the federal government.

The actions by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention allowed providers to offer the three-dose Pfizer vaccine for children under five years old, and a two-dose Moderna vaccine for children under six years old. Both vaccines are approved for children as young as six months old, state officials said in a Thursday statement.

Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson speaks during Wednesday’s press Conference. Dr. Johnson and Acting Secretary of Human Services Meg Snead encourage Pennsylvanians to vaccinate their children during a visit to the Dauphin County State Health Center (Commonwealth of Pa. photo).

“As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your kids and keep them safe. By vaccinating my kids, I am sending them off to school this fall knowing that they are as protected as possible from this virus,” acting state Department of Human Services Secretary Meg Snead said. “I encourage all parents to talk to a trusted healthcare provider and get their kids vaccinated so they are ready and protected heading into the school year.”

In their joint statement, the two agencies noted that pharmacists only are allowed to vaccinate children aged three years old and older. Parents seeking the jab for kids under age three should contact their pediatrician, family physician, or another qualified physician. Parents also can visit vaccines.gov to find the vaccine provider that’s nearest to them, officials said.

The three-dose Pfizer vaccine is available for children under five and as young as six months. Kids who get the Pfizer shot should receive the second dose three weeks after the first, and the third shot eight weeks after the second shot, officials said.

The two-dose Moderna vaccine is available for children ages six months through five years old, and the second shot should be administered 28 days after the first dose, officials said.

“It is critical for parents to make sure their children receive the complete series of shots for the vaccine to be as effective as possible,” Johnson said. “The CDC says for the vaccine to reach its efficacy, children need to receive the recommended three doses of the Pfizer vaccine and two doses of the Moderna vaccine.”

Pennsylvania Senate Chambers. Source: WikiMedia Commons

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.

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