DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Children’s Hospital held their first appointments for ages 5 to 6 months to get the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

The vaccine for this age group is now available at hospitals, health departments and pharmacies across the Miami Valley.

“Today marks an important day for us in the start of the journey of getting as many children vaccinated as we can,” Dayton Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Mezoff said.

Kristen Bowser brought her 3-year-old daughter Delaney to Dayton Children’s for her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have five kids, 16, 14, 12, 3 and 1, and the littlest ones are the only ones that haven’t been vaccinated yet,” Bowser said. “We just want to protect them, protect our family, protect our community.”

Mezoff said seeing families come in for appointments Tuesday is uplifting after more than two years of challenges caused by the pandemic.

“Whenever we see families stepping up with their children to protect them, it makes us feel that we have sort of another layer of armor to make sure that kids stay healthy and can do normal kid things,” Mezoff said.

Bowser said there’s a sense of relief now that the vaccine is available for her kids and all kids.

“The older ones have all been vaccinated,” Bowser said. “We actually put our son in a clinical trial at PriMed when he was 11. We just want to be part of the solution to get us past this pandemic.”

Greene County Public Health (GCPH) will be offering the modern vaccine to little ones during their regular Friday clinics.

GCPH Public Information Officer Laurie Fox said it’s a parent’s choice to get their children vaccinated, and the health department understands there may be hesitation.

“It is nerve wracking for a parent to make that type of a decision on a vaccine that is new,” Fox said.

Fox recommends parents with any doubts or concerns check with their child’s pediatrician when making that decision.

“It’s important that they look at the information, research it carefully,” Fox said. “Talk to their pediatrician and make their decision because a lot of people have been waiting on this opportunity and we’re happy to serve them.”

Mezzof said there’s been lots of research into the child-sized doses, which is why it took two years to become available.

“Obviously, the higher risk age groups tend to be older folks, people my age, and so the vaccinations were geared towards protecting that age group first and then utilizing that information to absolutely ensure it’s safe for children,” Mezoff said.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for kids do differ in antigen levels and number of doses required. The Pfizer vaccine for kids requires three doses for full immunity, whereas the Moderna vaccine requires two doses.

Mezoff recommends parents consider getting their children vaccinated now so they have all their doses completed and full immunity for school in the fall.