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Arkansas health officials urge parents to vaccinate infants and children against COVID

The CDC now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone, including children as young as 6-months-old, and Arkansas health officials are also echoing that same advice.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — The CDC has now recommended COVID-19 vaccines for all children and infants, as young as 6-months-old. Arkansas state officials have also echoed that same advice. 

Dr. Robert Hopkins with UAMS said that he's had multiple conversations with parents within the last few weeks to talk about the FDA approval for the shot. He's hopeful that more Arkansans will get their little ones vaccinated sometime soon. 

"These vaccines have been very well tested. We have a year and half worth of monitoring that we've done since the vaccine was first authorized in adults and in older teens," said Hopkins. 

Hopkins hopes that vaccines will soon be available in physician's offices, pharmacies and in the public health units. When that happens, health workers can begin vaccinating and protecting the children in the state.

Dr. Joel Tumlinson, medical director of immunizations for the Arkansas Department of Health, said that despite there not being a lot of cases to account for, infants and young kids can still get sick with COVID.

"Thankfully, they don't get seriously sick as often as other age groups, but that does happen," said Tumlinson. 

Doses of the vaccine have already arrived in the state and will be ready to be used soon. If you've had worries surrounding potential vaccine symptoms such as aches and pains, it's best to talk to your child's pediatrician. 

"There's a lot of value in speaking to the provider that's taking care of your baby, your young child and ask their opinion about it," said Tumlinson.

Chris Kennedy and his wife were vaccinated as soon as it was available, but they did wait for their young daughter to turn five before they decided to get her vaccinated. 

"We decided to do that because she goes to a public daycare and you never know what the risks are with just general illness. You try to keep your kid as healthy as possible and also we want to be able to enjoy life," said Kennedy. 

He said that they wanted their daughter to be protected in the same way he and his wife were protected. 

Kennedy also mentioned that now, he's confident in the decision that they made, but at one point, he didn't always have confidence in the vaccine. 

"At first, in the beginning I felt like there was too much government intervention with it. I felt like we needed to let scientists and doctors do their work. That was my hesitancy with it, but when I saw the population wanting to get vaccinated I said okay this should be safe for us," said Kennedy.

He said everyone is entitled to do what they believe is best. And he feels that what he's done, is what is best for his daughter and their family. 

Even with their daughter having been vaccinated, she still caught COVID around three weeks after getting her second dose Kennedy said she was no where near as sick as she would  have been, if she never received the vaccine.

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