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Babies could soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. But experts worry parents aren't interested

The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 1, which allows for wider use than allowed under the current “emergency use” status. The agency granted the same status to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine back in August.

This comes as cases of the latest omicron variant continue to decline in Arizona. State health officials added another 8,329 new infections and 24 additional deaths to Arizona’s daily coronavirus dashboard Feb. 2.

While cases have been trending down, hospitalizations remain high with close to 40% of all beds being taken up by COVID-19 patients.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 59% of Arizonans are fully vaccinated, compared to 64% nationwide.

And some big news on the vaccine front: Babies as young 6 months old could be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a matter of weeks. It’s news that many parents have eagerly awaited. This is the last group of the population that is not yet eligible for vaccination.

But it remains to be seen if parents will line up to get their kids the shot en masse. In national numbers, only about a fifth of children between 5 and 11 have been vaccinated, and they’ve been eligible since November. Among teens under 17, that number goes up to 55%. But recent polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows only about a third of parents of kids this young say they will get their child vaccinated right away.

Dr. Anthony Ani is a pediatrician and chief medical officer with Banner Health. The Show spoke with him to learn about the latest vaccine developments and the situation in Arizona.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.