JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Kid-size COVID-19 vaccines are shipping out right now, headed to pharmacies and doctor’s offices around Jacksonville.
Walgreens will begin administering the vaccine for ages 5 to 11 Saturday, Nov. 6. Parents and legal guardians can schedule appointments at area Walgreens right now. CVS is making the COVID-19 vaccine available for kids ages 5 to 11 on Sunday, Nov. 7. Parents and legal guardians can schedule appointments at area CVS stores right now. News4Jax went online to see when appointments are available. On the Walgreens website, there were dozens available at ten locations Saturday. On the CVS website, several open appointments at seven different locations are available starting Sunday.
Agape Community Health CEO Mia Jones told News4Jax last week they’re ready to go as soon as they get the vaccines. The plan currently is to have the Lane Wiley Senior center and the Clanzel T. Brown Community center be locations where parents can get their children ages 5 and up vaccinated, as well as some pop-up locations within schools.
Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the final clearance for kids ages 5 to 11 to receive kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
Marcel George has been waiting for this moment. George said he will get his grandkids vaccinated. “As soon as they give us a location where we can carry them, we are going to take them, " said George. “I have 3 grandkids. One is 7, one is 9 and one is 11.”
Local pediatrician, Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, tells News4Jax the first thing you should do is call your child’s doctor. “I think if you asked 100 pediatricians, 99 of them would say it’s critically important that your child get this vaccine.”
In an interview with The Morning Show, Dr. Sunil Joshi, an Allergist and Immunologist at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, said pediatricians should have the vaccine available for their patients.
“It is critically important that pediatricians have the vaccine available because the parents trust their pediatrician, that children have a relationship with their pediatrician,” Joshi said. “And it’ll make the process go much more smoothly. And of course, if the patients or parents have questions, they can get answers from their trusted provider.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been shown to be 91% effective in children ages 5 to 11, and trials showed the vaccine was safe, well-tolerated, and produced a robust antibody response.
“The more of these young children that we vaccinate, the more likely we are to get through this pandemic,” Joshi said. “And so yes, it’s very important that we get this group vaccinated. Hopefully, the vast majority of parents will agree to do that.”
Dr. Mobeen Rathore is a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. “It’s far safer to have the vaccine than for a child to get COVID.” said Rathore.
As for children younger than 5 – that’s in clinical trial right now. Dr. Rathore said he expects it be approved for children ages 6-months-old to 4-years-old in the first quarter of 2022.
Starting Friday, vaccine.gov will be updated so parents can find all locations offering the vaccine for younger kids - by entering their zip code.