IOWA CITY — Federal health officials signed off on the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children ages six months to four years old late last week — and representatives for Iowa’s largest hospital say parents need to be patient.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics pharmacy officer Mike Brownlee says their first 200 appointment slots for kids to get vaccinated filled immediately. “Because of the impact on the families, the inability to see family members, the daycare issues that have come up, we’ve seen a spike of interest that may be slightly higher than what we saw with the 5- to 11-year-olds,” Brownlee says. 

Brownlee says UIHC’s staff is still training to use new dosage forms, and will likely open up more appointments at additional locations next week.  “We have to build in our systems to ensure that their safety for, for patients to receive these vaccines,” he says. “We do not want to mix up the vaccines. We don’t want to give the incorrect vaccine to any of our patients. So there’s some process behind the scenes that has to be implemented.”

Brownlee encourages parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as they are able to get an appointment.