MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Nearly 8,500 COVID cases in children ages 6 months to four years old have been reported across North Dakota, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

COVID cases in children can cause hospitalizations and long-term complications.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed the recommendation that children ages 6 months to 5 years old should be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“There are a number of benefits to COVID-19 vaccination which we’ve seen in older ages groups and now children as young as six months will be able to have some of those benefits,” said Molly Howell, the Immunization Director for the Department of Health. “Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.”

A First District Health Unit nurse says it’s great news that more kids are able to be vaccinated to help stop the spread of COVID.

“And that’s just gonna help us to get more immunity out in our community so the more people that are vaccinated or have been exposed to it, the less mode of transmission we have with the COVID vaccine,” said Lacey McNichols. “So hopefully that means we’re gonna have less cases of COVID moving forward.”

The Department of Health says the pediatric COVID-19 vaccines are arriving early this week, and are expected to be delivered to healthcare agencies around the state by the end of the week.

“The vaccine will be available at all local public health departments, your pediatrician, family practice office, and then some pharmacies will also carry the vaccine, however, pharmacists may only administer vaccinations to children three and older,” said Howell.

And for those who may be a little hesitant, McNichols says health officials know more about the effect of the vaccine versus the virus.

“As parents, we don’t wanna see our kids get sick,” said McNichols. “We don’t want our kids to stay out of activities. So getting them the vaccine is the safest thing. Gives them that protection so if they’re exposed to somebody that maybe chose not to get the vaccine and they’re exposed to that person, then they won’t get sick. “

McNichols says if anyone has any questions about the vaccine, they should call their pediatrician or local public health unit.