By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Saipan-- The CNMI will begin offering Covid-19 vaccines to children aged six months to four years old, health officials announced today.
Covid-19 booster shots are also available to children aged five to 11 at least five months after their primary series.
Health officials said young children are at risk for contracting Covid-19, and some can get seriously ill.
"Even if a child does not get severely ill, they could face long-term health consequences or pass the virus to others. The best way to protect children against Covid-19—in daycare, school, sports, and with their friends—is by getting them vaccinated," they said. Health officials assured parents that the vaccines for young children are safe and effective.
"Like other pediatric vaccines, these vaccines were thoroughly tested and then reviewed by the FDA and CDC before these agencies authorized and recommended them for wide use. The vaccines will be available at no cost and regardless of citizenship or insurance status," officials said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emerging evidence indicates that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after having been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19.
"Even if a child has had Covid-19, they should still get vaccinated. For children who have been infected with Covid-19, their next dose can be delayed three months from when symptoms started or, if they did not have symptoms, when they received a positive test. This possible delay can happen with a primary dose or a booster dose," states a press release from the CNMI government. "The Covid-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the U.S. continue to protect people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying—especially people who have received a booster," the CNMI government said.
According to medical experts, adverse reactions reported after getting booster shots were similar to the primary series/shot.
"Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the two-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare but may occur," officials said.