Getting Covid vaccines into the arms of younger kids has felt like a frustratingly elusive goal to many parents as Delta caused a summer surge and then kids headed back to the classroom. But the time has finally come! On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Wolensky endorsed Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for children ages 5 through 11, a major stride forward in getting up to 28 million more kids vaccinated in the U.S.
With the emergency use authorization complete, your child could get their first of two shots any day now. Here’s where they will be available and how to secure your kiddo’s first dose.
Where Will Kids’ Vaccines Be Distributed Anyway?
When the Covid vaccine became widely available for adults, we lined up at mass vaccination sites, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other local sites to roll up our sleeves. Since the dose approved for children under 12 is smaller than the dose for adults and older kids, it’s not a simple matter of allowing in a new group to existing vaccine sites. For children in the newly approved age group, both the dose and the approach is different and will involve the pediatricians families already trust.
The White House announced that Covid vaccines for kids ages 5 through 11 will be available at more than 25,000 pediatricians’ and family doctors’ offices in the U.S. The administration is also working with more than 100 children’s hospitals across the country to establish vaccine clinics where children can get their doses, and aims to get the vaccines to school-based clinics, rural health centers, and “tens of thousands of pharmacies.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Pfizer has prepared 15 million doses in advance and began distributing them in waves on October 20, so these locations may already have vaccines in stock, or perhaps have an idea about if and when they’re coming. The CDC website also recommends contacting your state or local health department if you’re having trouble finding vaccines elsewhere.
Can I Call Now To Schedule?
Short answer: Yes! Major pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS are already allowing parents to schedule appointments online for children in the 5 to 11 age group. Others, like Rite Aid, shouldn’t be far behind.
You can also call your pediatrician’s office to ask if or when they will be offering the shots to children in this newly approved age group. Getting the vaccine in a doctor’s office they’re familiar with may help reduce the fear and anxiety many kids feel about getting shots.
The Children’s Hospital Association has compiled a list of hospitals that will host vaccine clinics for kids now that the EUA is finalized. A Children’s Hospital Colorado spokesperson tells Romper that they are partnering with their state’s department of health to provide vaccine sites at their campuses, which will open in mid-November and see children by appointment. Call your nearest children’s hospital on the list to learn more, or check their website for updates.
Should I Plan A Well Visit For Next Month To Get It Then?
If your child already has a well visit scheduled in November, it certainly can’t hurt to ask their doctor if they will have Covid vaccines available by then. However, if what you’re really looking for is a vaccine appointment, it’s best to call the pediatrician and ask specifically about when and how you can get your child vaxxed in their office, or be updated when that information is available.
Or, opt to get your little one their shot from a pharmacy or local children’s hospital instead.
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