Local appointments for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 hard to come by

Children under 5 years old are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, but some local parents say they are struggling to find appointments to get them.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Children under 5 years old are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, but some local parents say they are struggling to find appointments to get them.

News4JAX reached out to multiple local pharmacies and hospitals, and most places didn’t carry the vaccine for young children.

It’s still possible to get an appointment, but parents really need to plan ahead.

Ashleigh Wright, a mother of two, is relieved that there’s finally a vaccine to protect her kids from COVID, but she had no idea how hard it would be to get the shot.

“It’s been very frustrating. I called my kids’ pediatrician first, and they said the vaccines will not be available to them and directed me to the retail pharmacies,” Wright said.

Walgreens offers vaccines for children 3 and older. Wright took her son there. But she still can’t find an appointment for her 15-month-old.

“My biggest concern is that my daughter is going to get exposed to COVID and have an awful outcome before we can get her vaccinated,” Wright said.

Local parents say they're having a hard time finding COVID-19 vaccines for their young children. However, the Sulzbacher Village Pediatrician Health Center will hold a vaccination event where it will provide shots for kids as young as 6 months old.

Sulzbacher Village Pediatrician Health Center on Springfield Blvd says their having a vaccination event on June 25 from 9 am-2 pm for kids as young as six months old.

Sulzbacher has not said if it will have the Pfizer or Moderna shot -- or both.

Moderna’s vaccine would be two shots for children 6 months to 5 years old. Pfizer’s would be three shots for kids 6 months to 4 years old.

Florida is the only state in the country that didn’t preorder COVID-19 vaccines for young children before the federal government’s authorization last week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will stand by that decision.

But individual doctors can still order the vaccines for their patients.

News4JAX called a dozen local pharmacies in the area, and none of them offered the vaccine for children under 5. They told us they did not intend to.

The only place that we found that offers local appointments is CVS.

We went to its website and searched for a clinic in our area. Once you search, you can see all of the locations where vaccines are available to children under 5.

But CVS only offers shots to children older than 18 months. Any child younger than that isn’t eligible.

Another way to find COVID-19 vaccines is to go on vaccines.gov. All you do is put in your ZIP code, select the age group, and hit search.

Using that method, we found only one appointment available -- at a Walgreens in Kingsland, Georgia.

As for hospitals, Mayo Clinic said it is not offering the vaccinations right now.

Wolfson Children’s Hospital hopes to get doses soon.

Wolfson released this statement:

“The CDC recommended COVID-19 vaccines for babies and children 6 months to 5 years this weekend, which means doses could be available in the coming days. We encourage parents to check with their local pharmacy. We will provide updates on local vaccine availability at wolfsonchildrens.com/covid19.”

Publix told News4JAX that its pharmacies are “not administering the COVID vaccine to individuals under 5 years of age at this time.”

We’ve reached out to the Duval County Department of Health to ask when and where it might provide vaccinations for children under 5 in Jacksonville. We haven’t heard back.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.