Lee Health preparing to provide COVID vaccines to infants, toddlers and preschoolers

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Beginning this week, parents have the green light to get their infants, toddlers and preschoolers vaccinated against COVID-19.

Lee Health is relying on its experience in getting vaccines directly from suppliers rather than depending on the government. They expect the rollout for younger kids to fall in line much the same way, without any issues.

Of all the topics parents are chatting about at the water park, getting the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t seem to be a hot topic. Most people have made up their minds.

Jasmine Colon has three children, only one is newly eligible, but she is not comfortable getting her 2-year-old vaccinated.

“I kind of don’t want my child to be like an experiment, you know?” said Colon.

Lee Health is confident in the vaccine’s safety. As the area’s largest health care provider, their challenge is to get a supply of doses for parents who want one.

“Historically, when we’ve needed additional vaccine, we’re able to put that order in and get those vaccines within a very quick timeframe. You know, early on in the process, it was a little different. And it took us some time. But more recently, we’ve not had issues, I expect that as long as supply is okay, nationally, we shouldn’t have any trouble being able to keep our supply up,” said Stephanie Stovall, chief quality and safety officer with Lee Health.

Many of the national, community-based pharmacy chains are not offering shots to the youngest children. Those will likely be given through pediatricians. The bigger question is estimating how many parents will opt to get their child vaccinated. Again, Lee Health is drawing on the experience of its pharmacists.

“Yes. So they’ll look at previous use the look at the uptake of things like influenza vaccine, the look at numbers of patients who are coming in stratified by age, you know, obviously, our younger kids are on a pretty serious schedule, because they get lots of vaccines,” said Stovall.

Allison is a mother of two whose children will not be among the takers. “I just don’t feel like it’s necessary now, especially nowadays. You know, we don’t really have to worry about it that much. You know, life is getting back to normal so I don’t really feel a need for it.”

It’s important to keep in mind, that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given in a series of two or three shots. The dosages are a fraction of what adults get and they are considered to be well-tolerated by this youngest age group.

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