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COVID vaccinations for the youngest San Diegans are underway

COVID-19 vaccines are finally available for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old following CDC and FDA approvals.

Hundreds of eager parents made appointments at Rady Children's Hospital Tuesday, the first day of availability in San Diego.

"Just really happy to finally have the opportunity, because we’ve been isolating her and ourselves as much as we could to protect her," said Rancho Peñasquitos resident Aram Chia Sarafian about his 3-year-old daughter, who was among the first vaccinated Tuesday morning.

"There’s a couple of cool resources — we have a book about pandemic and vaccines like a kid's board book so she knows," Chia Sarafian said. "We’ve talked to her about it. She knows she’s doing her part in protecting herself and others."

Two-year-old Wolfgang Gaxiola got his first COVID-19 shot and his mom Lisa said they were heading for a treat afterwards.

COVID-19 shots for young children at Rady’s and elsewhere in the county are by appointment only via the state’s myturn.ca.gov.

"It’s a little bit of a relief," she said. "I know there’s a lot of unknowns with this virus and I feel the benefits outweigh the risk to have a vaccines versus get COVID and not knowing what happens."

Kids are generally at a lower risk from getting COVID-19, but infections can still be severe. Rady’s vaccine clinic is by appointment only. Reservations at Rady and elsewhere in the county can be booked on the state’s myturn.ca.gov.

"There are no supply issues," said San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, adding the county ordered vaccines a couple weeks ago in anticipation of federal approvals.

Wooten said the vaccines are safe for kids and encourages parents to reach out to their providers.

"The FDA has approved these vaccines — the CDC has approved these vaccines," she said.

Doses for kids under age 5 are expected to be at county sites starting Wednesday. Some pharmacies will also have them available.

Sharp HealthCare spokesperson Erica Carlson said Tuesday vaccines for kids 6 months to 5 years old will be available at some Sharp Rees-Stealy pediatrics offices, but not at their community vaccination clinics.

Kaiser San Diego officials said they will be reaching out to parents to make appointments. Spokesperson Jennifer Dailard said doses were arriving Tuesday and vaccinations will begin via appointments on Thursday.

UC San Diego Health is not administering them this week. UCSD Health Spokesperson Michelle Brubaker said they are expected to start the week of June 27.

Scripps Health spokesperson Stephen Carpowich said they are finalizing details and will have more information soon.

Palomar Health representatives did not provide details about doses for kids under 5.

COVID vaccinations for the youngest San Diegans are underway