BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Coronavirus shots are now going into the arms of children as young as five here in Kern County. Some local parents say they’re relieved to give vaccines to their kids, as the CDC gives the green light for a new phase of the vaccine rollout.

“I’ve been waiting for it since I was able to get mine,” said Kailin Carr, a local parent.

“I’m so happy to protect my six-year-old,” said Diane Gearhart, another local parent.

Meantime many pediatricians say vaccinating children is crucial for ending the pandemic.

“And they can be hospitalized. In fact, in September, 30,000 children in the US were hospitalized,” said Dr. Nimisha Amin, a local pediatrician. “A third of them went to the pediatric ICU. And we know that, unfortunately, kids can spread the virus just as much as adults do. If they’re vaccinated and they don’t catch it, they can’t spread it.”

But not everyone agrees. A recent 17 News poll says just 43% of Kern residents wanted the Pfizer vaccine to be approved for kids ages 5 to 11. This comes as the CDC says the shot is safe, and more than 90% effective for young children.

“There have been billions of doses of this vaccine that have been administered,” said Dr. Amin. “We know that it’s safe, we know that it’s effective. I do encourage parents to really talk to their healthcare providers. Talk to their pediatricians about whether vaccinating their kids is a good idea.”

If you want to make an appointment to get a coronavirus vaccine, you can visit the state’s website.