NYC Health + Hospitals today administered the first COVID-19 vaccines for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that children as young as 6 months be vaccinated against the virus.
The city’s public health care system will offer Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children under the age of 5, and as young as 6 months, in the pediatric practices at all its 11 hospitals.
“The next step towards a return to normalcy is around the corner for our youngest New Yorkers,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “I know how long parents and caretakers of our little ones have been waiting for the moment their youngest would have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, and I encourage everyone to get their child vaccinated now that this moment has arrived to keep our children safe and healthy.”
“NYC Health + Hospitals has already administered more than 1.75 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and we are proud to now offer this vital protection against serious illness and death to our youngest New Yorkers,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “I encourage all parents to make an appointment with one of our pediatricians, because these vaccines will ensure their kids can safely enjoy daycare, preschool, summer camp, and other activities.”
“We thought a lot about this, but in the end the decision for us was really easy,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff in the Office of Ambulatory Care Hannah Jackson, MD, MPH, whose 9-month-old daughter was among the first babies to receive the vaccine today at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. “The concern around side effects was so much lower than the ability to be able to protect her against severe disease and Long COVID especially.”
NYC Health + Hospitals patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment for their child’s vaccine by calling their pediatrician’s practice directly.
Anyone who is not a NYC Health + Hospitals patient can use the City’s Vaccine Finder or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to schedule an appointment at other locations.
The Pfizer-BioNTech primary series for babies and toddlers is three doses. The first two shots are given three to eight weeks apart. The third is given at least eight weeks after the second. The three-dose vaccine is one-tenth the dose of the adult Pfizer dose.
Children will be closely monitored for 15 minutes after each dose in the event of a rare allergic reaction.
Children may experience similar side effects of vaccination as adults, with usually mild effects lasting one to two days. A parent or guardian must provide consent for their child to be vaccinated.
The vaccines help children develop immunity and provides them with protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19. The more contagious variants that have been spreading have caused some children to get sick, be hospitalized, and die.
The best way to protect children is to get them vaccinated as soon as possible. All children, including those who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated.
NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs.
A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals.
Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible.