CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to children younger than 5 years old in the United States, parents across South Florida are choosing to take their toddlers to get their shots.
Dr. Dwight Reynolds at the Centers for Health Promotion in Coral Springs has been on the front lines of COVID treatment for more than a year and half. He first administered inoculations to adults, and now it’s the youngest patients’ turn to receive their shot at prevention.
7News cameras captured Reynolds as he used his stethoscope to listen to Noa Nyarumbu’s lungs, Wednesday afternoon.
“You’ve got lungs, my goodness,” said Reynolds.
Nyarumbu is just 21 months old. She is one of the first toddlers in South Florida to receive the COVID vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots for infants and preschoolers last week.
Cameras captured the moment Reynolds gave Nyarumbu the shot.
“That’s a good girl,” he said.
The child’s mother, Natalie Hutchinson-Nyarumbu, said she’s relieved this moment has finally come.
“Quite frankly, she’s among the most vulnerable,” she said.
Hutchinson-Nyarumbu said her daughter already had COVID. The toddler had terrible body aches and a high fever for five days.
“She had a fever of over 103, gastrointestinal issues. The mucus was thick. It was severe,” she said. “She was very, very uncomfortable. It frightened me.”
When the vaccine was approved for children 6 months old and up, Hutchinson-Nyarumbu said she immediately called Reynolds.
“We have found that children, they can get COVID, that’s number one. Two, they can get very sick from it,” said Reynolds. “It harbors in their nasopharynxes, a large load of the virus, a lot more than what we do as adults.”
Because children have a large viral load, they can spread COVID easily.
“[The vaccine] won’t keep them from getting COVID, but when you do get COVID, it’s going to knock down – it’s going to kill the virus before it can really take over and replicate,” said Reynolds.
Cameras showed the moment a courier wheeled in boxes filled with pediatric Pfizer doses into the clinic, located along University Drive.
“It’s all pediatric doses. We have over about 1,000 or so dosages, so I’m really excited,” said Reynolds. “How excited am I? I feel like jumping for joy.”
Reynolds said he’s excited because he knows the difference these vaccines can make.
Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine consists of a three-shot regimen, while Moderna’s is only two shots spread over 30 days.
“This vial can treat 10 children,” said Reynolds as he held out a Moderna vial.
Reynolds discussed expected side effects with Nyarumbu’s mother.
“She may have a little fever, perhaps, but don’t give her any Tylenol until she gets that,” he said. “Remember, she may be a little tired.”
These are symptoms children may experience while their bodies build immunity moving forward.
“Did it hurt?” Reynolds asked Nyarumbu.
“No,” replied Nyarumbu.
“I like that,” said Reynolds.
Hutchinson-Nyarumbu went home feeling happy that her daughter has some protection against the virus.
Reynolds indicated the vaccines are safe. He advised parents who still have reservations about giving it to their children to consult with their pediatricians beforehand.
To date, more than 250 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.
For more information about locations providing the COVID vaccine to infants and toddler, click here or call 954-50-COVID (954-502-6843).
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