Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Most children 6 months to 4 years are now eligible for their updated COVID-19 vaccine, which protects against COVID-19 variants. These vaccine doses are becoming available in North Carolina this week following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation.
“We know parents and families are eager to protect their children from the many viruses going around our state, impacting our youngest North Carolinians,” said N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “The COVID-19 vaccine and updated dose is an important tool to help protect them.”
The updated vaccine is a bivalent vaccine that targets both the original coronavirus strain and Omicron variants. Like previous COVID-19 shots, children 6 months through 4 years get a smaller dose of this updated vaccine than other age groups. Children under 5 should get the same vaccine brand for all recommended doses. Children are eligible for the updated dose of their COVID-19 vaccine if they are:
♦ 6 months to 5 years and got their last dose of a Moderna vaccine at least two months ago; or
♦ 6 months to 4 years who already had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and are ready for their third dose
Children 6 months and older may be able to get this updated COVID-19 dose along with other routine vaccines at the same visit. Parents should talk with a health care provider to make sure their child is up to date on COVID-19 and other vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe to take alongside the annual flu shot.
“More children now have the opportunity to get the most up-to-date protection from COVID-19 to help renew their body’s defenses against the virus,” said NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Kansagra. “Many North Carolinians have already protected themselves and their children from the virus by getting vaccinated. Now is the time to make sure the whole family is up to date so you can continue to have the best protection this winter.”
Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are still free to everyone through federal funding, regardless of insurance or immigration status. When federal funding ends, COVID-19 vaccines will be available like flu shots and other routine vaccinations but may no longer be free for everyone. Flu vaccines are often available at little to no cost. Parents and guardians of children who do not have an established health care provider can search for a nearby vaccine provider at MySpot.nc.gov.
North Carolina’s actions are based on recommendations from the FDA and CDC. Read the CDC’s full statement HERE.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, or to find locations to get a COVID-19 and flu vaccine, visit MySpot.nc.gov or call the CDC-INFO Contact Center at 800-CDC-INFO. For information on testing and treatments, visit MySpot.nc.gov/Treatment.