ELMIRA, NY (WETM)- Over the weekend the CDC approved vaccines for toddlers as young as 6 months, the shots are expected to come sometime this week.

These vaccines are not only approved by the CDC and the FDA, but the American Academy of Pediatrics as well. Chairman of Pediatrics at Arnot Health, Dr. Jeffery Gardner wants to remind parents of one thing.

“Well, the most important thing to know is just like the vaccines for the older children and adults, the vaccine does not guarantee that a child will never be infected with COVID-19. What it does is it’s meant to prevent serious illness and hospitalization and the data that has been gathered on both of these vaccines. It seems to be doing exactly that,” says Dr. Gardner.

The risk versus benefit factor is often talked about when it comes to vaccines. While there hasn’t been years of studies done, experts say the vaccine appears to be safe and the side effects appear to be minor. One important question is, if your young one already had COVID-19, do they need to be vaccinated?

“Now certainly their immunity wanes. We don’t know yet for sure how long that natural immunity from having had COVID lasts, but it does certainly offer a level of protection, but an added protection is to get that vaccine as well,” says Steuben County’s Public Health Director, Darlene Smith.

Back in November when vaccines became eligible for ages 5 to 11, only about 1/3 of children got it. It is too early to tell now what will happen with this new age group, but it has experts wondering if the numbers will be any different this time around.

“Unfortunately, I think that the vaccination rate is going to be pretty similar I think the majority of people are not going to take this as seriously as they might otherwise,” says Dr. Gardner.

Smith says if anyone is considering getting their young one vaccinated to go to their pediatrician and discuss all the pros and cons before giving it to your child. The Moderna Vaccine will be administered in 2 shots one month apart. As for Pfizer, there will be 3 shots, the first 2 will be 3 weeks apart with the 3rd dose at least 8 weeks later.

Dr. Gardner adds that while Arnot Health will more than likely not administer the vaccine, they are encouraging and recommending that everyone with a toddler do so. As for Steuben County, “The parent can start calling around and in the end they can contact us and we will certainly help them and you know, we can offer a clinic for the small children, but what we for sure will do is begin to supply pediatricians with the vaccine itself,” says Smith, “We are happy to play that that middleman role and get the vaccine supply to pediatricians, but vaccinating babies and young toddlers is completely different than vaccinating adults. So, I just think it’s more appropriate for those little ones to see their pediatrician for that but we’re happy to to assist and facilitate actually getting the vaccine itself for them.”

If you have any other questions, you are encouraged to visit the CDC.