COLUMBIA, South Carolina (WJBF) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved COVID-19 vaccinations for ages 6 months and up for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on Saturday.

This comes after an emergency use authorization for both vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). research has shown these vaccines are safe and effective in these age groups, and the DHEC says they are strongly encouraging all South Carolina parents to talk with their child’s healthcare provider and get their children in these age groups vaccinated to increase protection against COVID-19.

“Having a safe and effective vaccine for this youngest age group is great news for South Carolinians,” says Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “While most children experience relatively mild or even no symptoms if they are infected with COVID-19, severe cases and even deaths in young children can occur, and they can easily spread the virus to family members, especially those who are elderly or immunocompromised. Getting this younger age group vaccinated will go a long way in our ongoing efforts to control the impacts of COVID-19 and keep our families safe, especially as we get further into the summer months.”

South Carolina health officials say that the state’s initial allocation of COVID-19 vaccine for this age group includes 27,800 doses of Moderna and 27,800 doses of Pfizer. 

DHEC says they will be offering these free vaccines at many DHEC vaccine clinics, including health departments.

According to the DHEC, they are also working with pediatricians and other providers to ensure they have a supply if they choose to offer the vaccine for this age group.

Residents are encouraged to check with local healthcare providers and pharmacies to see if they are offering the vaccine to this age group.