Carroll County Times

Carroll Health Department prepares to start vaccinating county’s youngest against COVID-19

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As U.S. regulators authorize the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers this weekend, children ages 6 months through 5 years may soon be able to receive vaccines in Carroll County.

The Carroll County Health Department is working with local pediatricians to develop a plan for offering the vaccines here and is asking parents of children younger than 5 to complete a survey to assist with planning.


The survey, which asks whether parents are interested in getting their child vaccinated against COVID-19 and where the parent would be comfortable going for that vaccination, can be accessed at

Dr. Robert Wack, deputy health officer at the Carroll County Health Department, said that, as of Friday morning, more than 227 responses to the survey had been received. Wack said he anticipates “more of a slow roll” of demand for the vaccine in the county’s youngest children.


“We anticipate parents may not be as eager to rush out and get this right away,” he said.

Wack said county staff have been preparing for this moment for months and plan to partner with local, private pediatric offices to help distribute the vaccines to young children. He anticipates that parents may choose to have their children vaccinated during routine appointments at their pediatrician’s office rather than going to clinics at the health department or local high schools as was done for vaccinations in older children and adults.

“Even though it’s the same vaccine, pretty much everything else about it is different than prior efforts,” Wack said. “[It’s] a whole new preparation, using different vials, a different concentration.”

Wack said the rollout of the vaccine in Carroll County for children ages 5 to 11 was “very popular, very successful and well received.”

As of June 13, 76.8% of eligible Carroll County residents ages 5 and older had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received two shots.

Wack said the health department has been receiving “a steady drumbeat of inquiries” from parents of young children, asking when the vaccine would become available.

“Parents generally want to keep their kids safe,” Wack said. “This is a dangerous virus that poses a lot of risk to kids of all ages, and the virus is still evolving. This is possibly one of the safest, most effective vaccines we have. Data have proven that COVID-19 is a serious problem that people want to protect their children from.”

At a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday, Rochelle Walensky, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said her staff would be working over the Juneteenth federal holiday weekend “because we understand the urgency of this for American parents.”


According to epidemiological data from the Carroll County Health Department, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in children 5 years old and under is 966, or 4.1% of all confirmed cases in Carroll.

Children 5 and younger accounted for approximately 2.5% of cases beginning in 2020 and through November 2021, but have accounted for 6.3% of cases since December 2021, according to health planner Maggie Kunz, of the Carroll health department. Those numbers reflect only confirmed cases and do not include rapid tests or at-home test kit results, Kunz noted.

There have been 13 hospitalizations of children 5 and under attributed to COVID-19 in the county, none fatal, Kunz said.

Studies from Moderna and Pfizer showed side effects of the vaccines, including fever and fatigue, were mostly minor in this age group.

“As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.

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The two vaccine brands use the same technology, but there are differences. Pfizer’s vaccine for kids 5 and under is one-tenth of the adult dose. Three shots are needed: the first two given three weeks apart and the last at least two months later.


Moderna’s is two shots, each one-quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids age 6 and under. The vaccines are for children as young as 6 months.

Moderna next plans to study its shots for babies as young as 3 months old. Pfizer has not finalized plans for shots in infants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.