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COVID vaccines available for children under 4 at Essentia

Parents can start scheduling vaccine appointments Thursday.

Essentia Health St. Joseph's Medical Center1.jpg
Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Essentia Health now offers COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 6 months to 4 years, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the vaccine for kids in that age range.

“COVID-19 has been one of the biggest public health threats in a century, with millions of people tragically losing their lives prematurely across the globe,” said Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, an Essentia pediatrician, in a news release. “Now that COVID vaccinations for children above 6 months old have been approved, we can help prevent serious illness and hospitalization among our youngsters. We urge you to reach out to your pediatrician or family practice provider to discuss vaccination opportunities for your child.”

The CDC’s approval follows guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Essentia will administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for this age group in a three-dose series. The initial two doses are administered three weeks apart followed by a third dose given at least eight weeks after the second dose.

Vaccination appointments are required at Essentia and can be made with the child’s primary care provider or pediatrician. Patients can schedule through the MyChart patient portal or by calling 833-494-0836. Parents will be able to start scheduling appointments on Thursday; however, appointment availability will vary by location.

“We recognize that parents may be wondering if vaccination is the right thing for their child. Accordingly, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s primary care provider or pediatrician with any questions or concerns,” Essentia Health officials wrote in a news release.

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