OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A bribe of marshmallows from her mom was the final step for Eloise Manderfeld, 2, to become one of the first toddlers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
But the first step came when the CDC and FDA greenlighted COVID-19 vaccines for children six months through four years last week – something some Omaha parents said they’ve been waiting on for quite a while.
Tuesday, children four years old and younger across the country began getting versions of the Pfizer and Modena COVID-19 shots that are smaller.
“I’m just ecstatic,” said Leah Casanave, Manderfeld’s mom. “We’ve waited long enough.”
Casanave is the Douglas County Health Department Division Chief of Community Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Services.
“Prevention is key. These vaccines have been studied a long time,” she said. “But, obviously, we don’t want to force anyone to do something they’re not comfortable with.”
The fact that authorization was delayed from February gave her more confidence.
“They put a pause, just to make sure everything was still good,” she said. “That gave me extra confidence the FDA is knowing what they’re doing and checking into this.”
Health officials say children are at a lower risk of serious illness from COVID-19 – but the effects are unpredictable. They say these vaccines, which were subject to clinical trials, are safe and effective.
Polling from April shows 18% of parents were eager to get their child under five vaccinated. Thirty-eight percent said they'd wait and see. Another 38% said definitely not or only if required, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
A list of free COVID-19 vaccine clinics are here. Not all can give the COVID-19 vaccines to children under the age of five, and appointments are required for that age group.