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Ohio health officials preparing for COVID vaccinations of children ages 5 and younger: What parents need to know as final approval looms

A handful of Northeast Ohio counties are currently listed at the 'medium' level on the CDC's COVID map.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As approval nears for children ages 5 and younger to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the state of Ohio is working to prepare parents and families for the vaccination process.

“In anticipation of this, Ohio’s enrolled vaccine providers have begun placing orders for these vaccines – and the first deliveries are expected on Monday," Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff announced during a COVID press conference Thursday morning. "The state has a robust network of vaccine providers, so parents will have many options to access these shots.”

So what's next? Dr. Vanderhoff provided the following timeline...

EARLIER THIS WEEK

On June 15, the Vaccine Advisory Committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend approval of Pfizer's application for children ages 6 months through 4 years and Moderna's application for those ages 6 months through 5 years.

We streamed Dr. Vanderhoff's press conference, which you can watch in the player below:

COMING NEXT

The FDA authorized vaccines for young children early Friday morning. Now it moves on to the CDC.

“The CDC director must then approve the committee’s recommendations," Dr. Vanderhoff said. "Although we, of course, don’t know what the CDC will recommend, typically the CDC has acted in concert with the FDA.”

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Pfizer's vaccination for children in this age group

  • This is a three-shot series. Dr. Vanderhoff said the second dose can be given after three weeks. The third dose comes two months later. Each dose contains one-tenth of what's included in the adult dosage.

Moderna's vaccination for children in this age group

  • This is a two-shot series. Dr. Vanderhoff said the second dose can be given at least four weeks after the first. Each contains a quarter of the adult dose.

WHAT PARENTS SHOULD START THINKING ABOUT

“The time appears to have arrived and parents, of course, can start by consulting their child’s physician or other professional provider who will be best able to advise parents about this vaccine," Dr. Vanderhoff said. "For some parents, the timing may coincide with their child seeing their pediatrician or family physician before the start of the school or pre-school year.”

SHOULD MY CHILD GET VACCINATED?

Although children are less susceptible to serious illness from COVID, the vaccine is still suggested for the young age group. Parents are urged to speak about any questions or concerns regarding the vaccination with their child's medical provider.

“Nationwide, there have still been about 2.5 million COVID-19 cases in babies and toddlers. Tragically, nearly 450 deaths among those less than age 5," Dr. Vanderhoff said. "In Ohio, 79,000 cases have been reported in this age group with about 1,500 hospitalizations and tragically 10 deaths. ... It’s important to remember that our youngest children can still fall seriously ill with this virus."

COVID UPDATES IN OHIO

It has been one month since Dr. Vanderhoff and the Ohio Department of Health have provided a COVID-focused press conference. It comes as majority of Ohio’s 88 counties are currently listed at the “low” level of concern on the COVID map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A handful of spots in Northeast Ohio, however, remain listed at the “medium” level, which include:

  • Ashtabula
  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Mahoning
  • Trumbull

RELATED: Summit County drops to 'low' level on COVID map

Just two Ohio counties are listed at the highest level – both of which are in the southern portion of the state:

  • Gallia
  • Lawrence

"The virus is still out there circulating for sure, but Ohio’s case totals remain a fraction of what they were in January," Dr. Vanderhoff said last month. "We recognize that some of this is because fewer people are now getting tested or they’re not reporting their test results. That is certainly a factor. But even taking that into account, it’s clear from looking at the numbers that we’re still doing well when it comes to the volume of severe disease we’re dealing with.”

RELATED: COVID-19 in Ohio: Track the statewide data

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