NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Children under the age of six are the latest group to be eligible to receive two FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, but not all parents are on board, including in Tennessee.
The newest approved pediatric vaccine now makes it possible for almost every American to get vaccinated. Health officials are urging parents to talk with their pediatricians when deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children.
Despite the vaccine now being available for young children, COVID-19 drive-thrus and pop-ups in the Nashville area say they won’t be offering the shots to the youngest age group.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told News 2 that as long as people have a way to access the vaccines for themselves and their families, including their youngest children, that’s what matters most.
“Listen, anytime you have 300 to 400 Americans dying every day from one particular cause that should alarm all of us, and that’s where we find ourselves today with COVID,” said Becerra, “It’s not what it was before where we had more than 1,000 people die a day but it’s still quite a bit, and now that we know what works best to keep you alive, keep you out of the hospital so we should take that action.”
Data provided by the Tennessee Department of Health shows that 59.9% of Tennesseans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 50.9% are fully vaccinated and only 20.9% have received a booster.
Second COVID-19 boosters are recommended for older adults and people with underlying health conditions. News 2 spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about the importance of a second booster.
“As someone who has had that double booster, I can simply tell you that it is the right thing to do,” said Becerra, “Let’s listen to what the medical experts tell us when it’s best and appropriate for those from various ages. They’ll let us know, they’re being cautious. They want to make sure that those who can really benefit from the boost are the ones that get it first.”
U.S. health advisers recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers on June 18. Although the FDA OKs the vaccines, it’s up to the CDC to decide who should get them.