The Missoula City County Health Department is now booking appointments for children 12 to 15 years of age to receive the Pfizer COVID 19 vaccinations.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr provides details on why children so young need to be vaccinated against COVID 19.

“We are definitely still seeing cases of COVID in children,” said Farr. “We know that it affects them much differently and sometimes they have much more mild symptoms; however we've actually seen an increase in hospitalizations in this age group over the last couple of months. Because of that, we're really happy that we’ve now been able to approve the Pfizer vaccine or 12 to 15 year olds.”

Farr had a personal story about COVID and children.

“They can actually still get COVID and I can speak from personal experience because my four year-old did actually get COVID,” she said. “They just tend to have a little bit different symptoms, but there are other complications from COVID that can affect children differently after they have contracted and then recovered from the disease. So it is still important that we get our kids protected.”

Farr reminded parents to schedule the COVID vaccinations apart from any other school-required vaccinations.

“The only other thing that I want to just remind parents is that with the COVID vaccine, you really shouldn't have your child vaccinated with other vaccines for the two weeks before and the two weeks after receiving the COVID vaccine,” she said. “So it's really better because a lot of those kids in that 12 to 15 year old age range do need to have updated vaccinations, so they need to get their T/DAT, and they need to get their meningococcal vaccine, and so we want to make sure that they're still able to get those before school starts in the fall, and so it's better to go ahead and get those kiddos vaccinated for COVID now, so it doesn't interfere with their regular vaccination schedule.”

Farr said there are several ways to schedule vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-old children.

“MCPS is partnering with Granite Pharmacy and they are going to be holding some vaccination events, and there are ways that you can get signed up for that,” she said. Check with the Missoula County Public School District One, you can check their website.  They’ve got lots of information going out to parents via email. In addition, a parent or guardian does need to accompany those 12 to 15 year olds and if the child is 16 or over, they can fill out the unaccompanied minor paperwork and bring that in with them.”

The daily Pfizer vaccinations for all Missoula residents 12 and older will begin on Thursday.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

More From Montana Talks