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Children under 5 receive first doses of COVID vaccine in Seattle

Staff at Seattle Children's hospital said everyone was emotional for this historic day.

SEATTLE — Parents have been waiting months to protect the youngest among our population against COVID-19. On Tuesday, they were able to get that added protection for their little ones at a Seattle Children’s hospital vaccination clinic.

It has been a long wait to ensure children between 6 months to 4 years old can get vaccinated. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines emergency use authorization for young kids.

On Tuesday, the children all braved the poking and prodding with minimal tears. Some parents have been waiting a long time for the shot.

Rachel McDonald and Rachel Kerr have been friends since college. They each waited in line with their 3-year-olds to get the vaccine. They believe getting vaccinated will make them feel more comfortable taking their kids out to restaurants or traveling.

"I really wanted her to be vaccinated before our second child is born, so it's just another thing to keep everyone safe," said Kerr, who is 32 weeks pregnant.

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Alba Kerr and Silas McDonald were babies when the pandemic started.

“One of his first words was actually 'mask' when he was learning to talk,” said Rachel McDonald. “It was 'mama,' 'dada' and 'mask.'"

It is a huge moment for doctors as well.

"I am amazed that we have been able to get a vaccine to the smallest children in such a short time. It's exciting," said Dr. Ruth McDonald, who is the vice president and associate chief medical officer, chief medical operations officer at Seattle Children's.

Seattle Children's has given out more than 67,000 vaccinations so far. The hospital offers both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for 6-month to 4-year-olds. The Moderna vaccine is a two-shot series with a reported efficacy of 50%. Pfizer is a three-shot series, and after the full immunization, it's reportedly in the 80th percentile.

"Pfizer, they're getting about 10% of the adult dose,” explained Dr. Ruth McDonald. "For Moderna, they are getting about 25% of the adult dose. So, the doses are smaller, but both have shown to be safe."

The clinic at Seattle Children’s is not a walk-up site. Patients need an appointment, which can be scheduled through the hospital's website.

Appointments will be available at their regional clinics Wednesday, and the hospital plans to work with schools and mobile clinics to make sure everyone has access.

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