kids n masks

The day has come for parents to vaccinate their babies and toddlers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months, and providers are slowly beginning to offer the vaccines in Nashville. 

Wednesday through Saturday, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt will offer vaccines to babies and toddlers at the main campus by appointment online or by calling 615-936-5437 (KIDS). Vanderbilt will also offer vaccines to children leaving inpatient care at the children’s hospital and on an ongoing basis at its 100 Oaks and Children’s Primary Care Smyrna locations by appointment for this age group. Vanderbilt has ordered 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine across its clinics to start, according to spokesperson Jessica Pasley. 

For children ages 6 months to 4 years old, the CDC has approved a two-dose Moderna regimen and a three-dose Pfizer regimen.  

These vaccines contain a fraction of the adult dose. For Pfizer, the first two doses are given three weeks apart and the third dose is given at least eight weeks after the second dose — all at 10 percent of the adult dosage. For Moderna, the first and second dose are separated by four to eight weeks, at one-quarter of the dosage.  

Dr. C. Buddy Creech, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program and part of a team that studied Moderna vaccines in young children, said he anticipates a third booster dose needed for Moderna as well. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not yet been approved for this age group. 

Kids ages 5 to 11 started getting the vaccine in November.

The Metro Department of Health has ordered 200 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for young kids but has yet to receive its shipment. The agency will not be offering vaccines for the youngest age group at its pop-up COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites, though it will offer the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years at its Lentz, Woodbine and East clinic locations by appointment. 

“As soon as we have it we’ll be happy to administer it and we’re ready to go. We’re just waiting for the supply to come in,” said Matt Peters, spokesperson for Metro Public Health Department. 

At Vanderbilt, appointments are required and available between 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) penned a letter to Gov. Bill Lee asking him to direct the Tennessee Department of Health to halt distribution of the vaccine to children under 5. House Republican leaders including Speaker Cameron Sexton and Majority Leader William Lamberth signed on to the letter. The governor and department have not responded to inquiries.