Pediatricians face challenges when vaccinating young kids

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — COVID-19 vaccines for children six months to four-years-old have been available now since mid-June, but they’re not being distributed in the same way as ones for older children, and adults.

News10NBC takes a look at some of the challenges pediatricians face when it comes to vaccinating this age group.

The challenge is different for many pediatricians who are either squeezing in these vaccinations when they can, or will only offer these shots after the new school year begins.

"Right now it’s adding probably 10 patients to our schedule because we’re limiting it," said Pediatrician Dr. Edward Lewis.

Getting the needle into the arms, or legs of infants, and toddlers are proving to be a bit of a challenge for pediatricians. Lewis says the challenge comes down to scheduling vaccine visits with routine well visits.

"If I give somebody the vaccine tomorrow, in 3 weeks I’m going to have to block that off for the kids who need the second dose, and I’m not going to have that time to start another dose," said Lewis.

He says typically vials of the vaccine come in 10 doses, which only lasts just a few hours.

"We’re trying to use up the majority of doses that we get. So we’re going to try to get 10 children in on a day to give them the vaccine," said Lewis.

He also says he first started to vaccinate babies after the 4th of July, and says some demand for the shots are there.

"I think a pretty robust desire for the vaccine, not as much in the older kids with each level going down you see a little bit more reluctance to get the vaccine right away. Even though it’s extremely safe, and it’s extremely effective at preventing serious illness," said Lewis.

Distribution is also different for infants, unlike older children and adults.

"There are no county clinics. There are no clinics with U of R, or Rochester Regional to provide it, and it’s really falling on the hands of primary care providers, and in this case many pediatricians and to some extent family practices," said Lewis.

Right now doctors like Lewis are trying to make it through summer.

"We’re hoping that as things slow down with the start of school, and fewer well visits, routine visits we’ll be able to accommodate more," said Lewis.

Pediatricians will only offer either Moderna, or Pfizer which both come in two separate doses.