COVID vaccine rollout begins for US children under 5. Here's what parents should know

The vaccine rollout for young children in the U.S. kicked off Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the shots for Americans as young as 6 months old.

Los Angeles County health officials were set to begin administering the shots. Here's what parents should know:

Pharmacy retailer CVS said it's received some Pfizer vaccine doses and their MinuteClinics are prepared to start vaccinating young children Tuesday - a big relief for many parents who've been waiting for a long time.

"Every time we take a little extra risk, we know it might affect him," said one parent eager to get her 5-year-old protected.

Pharmacies are one of the many places parents of young children can get a vaccine.

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"We'll begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for eligible children 18 months through four years of age at our 1,100 MinuteClinic locations starting on Tuesday (6/21). Appointments will be made available at as locations receive supply," CVS said in a statement.

MinuteClinics accept patients as young as 18-months-old. If your child is younger, you can go to your pediatrician, a children's hospital or a county vaccination site.

"If you're thinking about getting your child fully protected, maximally protected before the fall, starting sooner rather than later is a good idea," said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator.

Parents have two choices: Pfizer's three-shot course, each one-tenth of the adult dose, administered over 11 weeks. And, Moderna's two-shot regimen -- each one quarter of the adult dose that is spread one month apart.

Moderna's age limit is 5 years old, while Pfizer's is 4 years old.

Pediatricians say vaccine side effects can include redness and swelling at the injection site.

"It's best to just let them run their course, but if a child is running a high fever, is really fussy, really uncomfortable, then it is fine and safe to go ahead and give a dose of a pain relieving medication," said Dr. Kimberly Guiliano with Cleveland Clinic Children's.

But some families remain on the fence.

A survey taken in April before the CDC recommendation found roughly one in five parents said they were eager to vaccinate their children.

And four out of 10 parents said they were reluctant to vaccinate their children right away.

"I probably won't be getting my child vaccinated who is five years old just because we've already had COVID and he was asymptomatic," said one Altadena mom.

Other parents don't want to take any chances.

"I've been looking forward to vaccinations for young kids for a long time, " one mother said.

Her husband said, "We know we want it and we know we are going to take him to it. I don't have any reservations about getting our child vaccinated."

At CVS, a child needs to be 18 months old to get a shot and for now the CVS MinuteClinic will only be providing Pfizer vaccines for this age group. Children 6 months to five years old can get COVID vaccine shots at their pediatrician's office, children's hospitals and county vaccination sites. Go to for more information.

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