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COVID vaccines for children under 5 could soon be available. What should parents consider?

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An FDA committee says COVID-19 vaccines are safe for kids under 5. This means children in Idaho between the ages of six months and five-years-old could receive shots as soon as next week.

While some parents have been waiting for this moment to arrive, others might be hesitant to vaccinate their young children. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 18% of parents would vaccinate their kids in this age group if the vaccine became available.

"Any risk that you are telling me are associated with the vaccine is manyfold greater with COVID," said Dr. David Pate, former CEO of St. Luke's Health System and a current member of Idaho's coronavirus task force.

Studies show young children are much less likely than adults to die of COVID-19, but the long-term effects of the illness on kids are unknown.

Dr. Pate said another reason to vaccinate children is new variants are developing mutations at a faster rate than at the start of the pandemic.

"If we want to stop that, we have to decrease transmission. And children are now an important part of that transmission chain," said Dr. Pate.

Dr. Pate says parents should not hesitate to vaccinate their children.