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COVID-19 vaccines for young children expected to begin in Mid-South this week

TN Department of Health and area hospital systems pre-ordered doses. Young children are expected to be able to get first doses sometime this week.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Heads up Mid-South parents with children under the age of five: that age group is now eligible to get a COVID vaccine, after final federal approval in recent days. 

The first doses are expected to be administered in the Memphis area sometime this week.

The significant vaccine development came as welcome news for many mothers and fathers, including Carla Weber.

"It does make me feel a bit more hopeful for just her safety in general," Weber said.

The mother isn't wasting any time, now that her 2-and-1/2 year old daughter Ruth is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Plan of attack is to get in touch with her pediatrician, see when they have vaccinations available, and make an appointment," Weber added.

RELATED: Yes, the FDA has authorized COVID-19 vaccines for kids as young as 6 months old

The FDA and CDC approvals in recent days mean children six-months to four-years-old can get the three-dose Pfizer vaccine, or those from six-months to five-years-old can get the two-dose Moderna vaccine.

"We are ready to start giving those vaccines as soon as we get them," Dr. Nick Hysmith with Le Bonheur Children's Hospital said.

Dr. Hysmith said children under the age of five who've come down with COVID can pass it quickly to others in preschools and daycares, making protection even more important.

"I think that getting vaccine and getting immunity in this age group will help us prevent the spread and also help us prevent new variants from hopefully popping up," Dr. Hysmith added.

For those parents on the fence or not in a rush to get their under the age of five children vaccinated, Dr. Hysmith offered this.

"The majority of kids less than five who get COVID will not become severely ill, but there are going to be kids in that age group who do become severely ill. And we know that if you are vaccinated, it greatly reduces your risk of ending up in the hospital," Dr. Hysmith said.

RELATED: Shots for tots: COVID vaccinations start for youngest of US children

As for Weber, she's not going to miss her shot to get her daughter the shots, after months of patience and anticipation.

"We've been waiting, we've been waiting. It would be nice to know that she's protected as we have been when we were vaccinated," Weber said.

Those at the Shelby County Health Department will announce additional details sometime this week about how and when they'll offer their supply of vaccines to children under the age of five.

A spokesperson in the Baptist system said the plans call for appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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