Essentia, Sanford to begin administering COVID vaccine for under five age group

Photo by: Centers for Disease Control
Photo by: Centers for Disease Control

(Fargo, ND) -- Essentia Health pediatricians are encouraging COVID-19 vaccination of children ages 6 months through 4 years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that everyone in this age group should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“As a pediatrician and father, I am very excited about the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for ages 6 months to 4 years,” said Dr. Dhilhan Marasinghe, an Essentia pediatrician. “Expanding this life saving vaccine to our youngest children provides extra protection to an already vulnerable group and moves our community one step closer to normalcy.”

The CDC’s approval follows guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At Essentia, we will be administering 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.

"We recognize that parents may be wondering if vaccination is the right thing for their child," said Dr. Marasinghe. "Accordingly, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s primary care provider or pediatrician with any questions or concerns."

At Essentia, vaccination appointments are required and can be made with the child’s primary care provider or pediatrician. You can schedule through the MyChart patient portal or by calling (833) 494-0836. Parents will be able to start scheduling appointments on Thursday, June 23rd. Appointment availability will vary by location.

Sanford Health will begin administering Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 6 months to 4 years Friday, June 24th. This is the final group in the U.S. that has been approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is a joyous moment as most of our youngest patients will now have the opportunity to be protected from COVID-19 with a vaccine,” said Dr. Stephanie Hanson, a pediatrician at Sanford Health in Fargo. “Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be safe and effective for this age group. COVID-19 is not going away, and the data is showing this vaccine will reduce the risk of hospitalization and even death in children.”

Vaccine availability varies by region. Parents and guardians can begin scheduling their children June 24 to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Sanford Health primary care locations.

“The anticipation is over for this age group. We celebrate today as we reach this milestone where everyone 6 months and older now has the opportunity to receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Tracie Newman, a pediatrician at Sanford Health in Fargo. “The vaccine will continue to be the safest and most effective tool to fight this virus. As more variants of COVID-19 are inevitable, it’s important for families to take this opportunity to protect their kids.”

Appointments are preferred and can be made through My Sanford Chart or by calling your preferred Sanford Health clinic.

More information for Sanford can be found here, and more information for Essentia can be found here.