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Markerria Mays holds brother Olliver Shaw, 8 months, before his COVID-19 vaccination. Olliver's older brother Omari, beside mother Kanyatice Shaw, got his vaccination first.  Melanie Thortis/ UMMC Communications
Markerria Mays holds brother Olliver Shaw, 8 months, before his COVID-19 vaccination. Olliver's older brother Omari, beside mother Kanyatice Shaw, got his vaccination first.
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Batson Kids Clinic now offers COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older

Published on Monday, July 11, 2022

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Protection against COVID-19 for her youngest children, Omari, 4, and Olliver, 8 months, is something Kenyatice Shaw has been waiting for.

“I've been asking Dr. (Anza) Stanley about it for months, so when it was available, I wanted them to get it,” said Shaw, an administrative assistant at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “COVID is still out there.”

Shaw’s sons were among the first children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at Children’s of Mississippi’s Batson Kids Clinic on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Vaccinations for children in this age group began July 5 at the clinic, located at 421 S. Stadium Drive in Jackson.

Anza Stanley
Stanley

"Parents of young children have waited a long time to vaccinate their children against COVID-19,” Stanley said. “I'm encouraging vaccinations for my patients if they’re eligible. This gives children and their families an extra layer of protection, especially with cases rising.”

In Mississippi as well as nationally, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise again this summer. In the U.S., nearly 76,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for the week ending June 30.

For children receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine who are between 4 and 5 years old, an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows for the two-dose series or three doses, each of which are a tenth of the adult dose. The vaccine had been authorized for use in individuals 5 years of age and older. 

Nurse Kristi Chambley talks with Roderick Everett before giving him his COVID-19 vaccination as dad Roderick Smith looks on. Melanie Thortis/ UMMC Communications
Nurse Kristi Chambley talks with Roderick Everett before giving him his COVID-19 vaccination as dad Roderick Smith looks on.

Dr. April Palmer, professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases, said COVID-19 vaccinations have been proven to be safe.

April Palmer
Palmer

“COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe for children, as millions of doses have been given to adults and children during the past 15 months,” Palmer said. “Many children have mild symptoms or no symptoms with COVID-19, but some children have become seriously ill and needed hospitalization for COVID symptoms and complications, and some children have died.”

Dr. Charlotte Hobbs, professor of pediatric infectious diseases co-authored a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that the primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations reduced the risk of COVID-related hospitalizations by 68 percent during the Omicron outbreak earlier this year.

For older children, during the Delta period, vaccine effectiveness against critical illness with COVID-19 (requiring life support) was found to be 96 percent among adolescents ages 12-18 who were vaccinated with a primary series. Vaccine effectiveness against non-critical COVID-19-associated hospitalization without any requirement for life support was 91 percent.

Charlotte Hobbs
Hobbs

“We know that the vaccine will not likely protect against infection completely, but it will protect against more symptomatic and certainly severe disease,” Hobbs said.

Palmer advises parents with questions about vaccinations to consult with their pediatrician. Parents can make vaccination appointments for their children online at umc.edu/healthcare/make-an-appointment or by calling (601) 815-5300 or (888) 815-2005.