JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As more locations offer COVID-19 booster shots, children ages 5 to 11 can get vaccinated in Florida starting Friday.
While some young children got shots as early as Tuesday, when U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s child-size COVID-19 shot, that was not the case in Florida. Many states across the country like Texas had pre-purchased child-sized doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and were ready to go when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the go-ahead. But when News4Jax asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday if the state had pre-purchased any child-sized doses ahead of time, he said: “There’s no shortage of availability or any of that, but it’s not something that the state is administering at this point.”
Though Florida did not pre-purchase doses like other states, additional retailers have announced they are accepting appointments for young children to get vaccinated.
Starting Friday, some Publix locations will start offering the shots for younger children. News4Jax found appointments for Publix locations in Duval County but could not find any available in other counties around Northeast Florida as of Thursday.
CVS will start on Sunday.
This month, Duval County Public Schools, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, will be holding a day of vaccination events for children age 5 and older. On Nov. 12, the Pfizer vaccine will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at First Coast High School, Riverside High School, Springfield Middle School and Landmark Middle School.
Agape Health CEO Mia Jones said they are ready to administer doses at community centers across Jacksonville, but “right now, we don’t have doses for the kids.”
“We are doing Pfizer for 12 and up, and we will continue to do that,” Jones added.
Jones said they are working on getting the special doses for children, and once they do, the shots will be administered at the Clanzel T. Brown Community Center and the Lane Wiley Senior Center. Both of those centers are now offering booster shots of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to those eligible from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
The Duval County health department is also offering boosters shots at the Emmett Reed Community Center and the Cuba Hunter Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
As more locations start to offer Pfizer’s children’s vaccine, DeSantis said Florida will not be opening any state-run vaccination sites. Instead, he said, the focus is on getting the vaccine to pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and big retailers.
In Georgia, starting Monday, three clinics in the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Coastal Health District — including one at the Glynn County Health Department — will begin offering pediatric doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11. Appointments are required and can be scheduled online at chdcovidvax.org.
Also, starting Monday, vaccine.gov will be updated so parents can find their nearest vaccination sites instead of checking individual websites.
In the U.S., 750,000 people have died due to the coronavirus, including 50,000 people who have died in the last month.