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Health

Montana children under 5 could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines this week

A staffer at a Flathead County vaccine clinic fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021.
Aaron Bolton
/
Montana Public Radio/File photo
A staffer at a Flathead County vaccine clinic fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021.

Montana’s children under 5 years old could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines this week.

A panel of advisers to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday voted to recommend the vaccine for kids six months to 5 years old, a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greenlighted both Moderna and Pfizer’s shots for young children on Friday.

Providers could be ready to administer vaccines for kids in the age group by Tuesday.

Thirty-two providers across the state have pre-ordered 5,000 doses, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services spokesperson Jon Ebelt said. Some providers may be ordering shots for others in their local area, so more providers may have vaccines available.

There are a little over 62,000 children younger than 5 years old statewide, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. While Montana health officials expect more vaccines for kids in that age group to be ordered in the coming weeks, demand could be lower compared to older children.

Under a third of parents nationwide say they will get their children younger than 5 vaccinated, according to data from a Kaiser Family Foundation Survey. Comparatively, 56% of parents reported vaccinating kids older than 12.

In Montana, children across all age groups have lagged behind national vaccination averages.