With children as young as six months oldfrom Moderna and Pfizer, many parents are asking where they can get their children vaccinated.
The US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both backed emergency use authorization for Moderna’s vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years old and Pfizer’s for kids 6 months to 5 years.
But where you get them vaccinated — and how soon you can get an appointment — depends on a number of factors, including how old they are, where you live and which vaccine you want them to get.
Here’s what you need to know about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination for your child, including where to take them, what you’ll need and how many visits it will take.
Where can I get my child a COVID vaccine?
Pharmacies in most states are not allowed to administer COVID vaccines to children under 3, so many parents of infants and toddlers will have to book an appointment with their pediatrician or at a health clinic.
Special vaccination clinics are also being established around the country. In Bloomington, Minnesota, a state-run COVID-19 vaccination site is operational at the Mall of America, where children between 6 months and 5 years old can receive Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine.
A CVS spokesperson told NBC News it would administer vaccines to children ages 18 months to 4 years old at its MinuteClinic locations. (You can find the CVS MinuteClinic location near you here.)
When can children under 5 get an appointment to be vaccinated?
The Biden administration allowed states to preorder from an initial batch of 5 million doses — evenly split between Pfizer and Moderna — and vaccinations have already begun nationwide. At Chicago’s Esperanza Health Centers, which preordered the Pfizer vaccine, parents scheduled appointments for their children’s first dose before the final approvals came through.
Availability will vary from region to region — and even from pharmacy to pharmacy. It also depends on which vaccine parents want for their kids, as pediatricians, pharmacies and health centers may not have equal supplies of both.
The first shots were administered in Washington state on June 21, but the state Department of Health is asking parents to remain patient.
“Overwhelming demand may temporarily slow the pediatric vaccination process while more providers and healthcare systems may take time to support the potential increase in demand,” read a statement on the DOH website.
Families in Florida may face additional delays: Gov. Ron DeSantis initially declined to preorder any vaccines for young children.The state eventually relented, though it meant Florida vaccine sites are receiving shipments later than any other state.
What’s the difference between scheduling Moderna and Pfizer shots?
Moderna’s vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years old is a two-dose regimen, with the second shot given four weeks after the first. (Each dose is 25 micrograms, a quarter the strength given to adults.)
Pfizer’s vaccine for kids 6 months through 4 years old is given in three visits: The first two shots are given three weeks apart, and the third is administered at least two months after the second. (Each dose is 3 micrograms, one-tenth the strength given to adults.)
Is the COVID vaccine safe for children?
The results submitted to the FDA and CDC are preliminary, but both agencies say the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are safe and effective.
“There are many processes in place to ensure safety, including oversight from vaccine advisory groups, the FDA, and the vaccine manufacturers,” Dr. Leslie Sude, a pediatrician at the Yale School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We are fortunate to live in a country that has these oversights in place.”
Children get lower doses of the vaccines than adults, Sude added, but “mount robust antibody responses with no safety concerns.”
Do children need ID or proof of insurance to get vaccinated?
A child doesn’t need to show identification or proof of insurance to receive the shot but, when you schedule their appointment, some vaccination sites may still ask you to bring either or both. That’s only to help them confirm you don’t have insurance so they can get paid by the federal government, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
You’ll still be treated, tested or vaccinated for COVID-19 even if you’re not able to provide a Social Security number or government ID, according to HHS.
What qualifies as an ID for a kid can be tricky to determine. Some places may accept a birth certificate, a student ID card, an insurance card or even a report card that shows a date of birth. Check with the clinic or pharmacy.
In addition, a parent or guardian may need to consent to the vaccine shot for children up to age 17.
No one should be billed for COVID-19 vaccinations. If you receive a bill, speak to the facility, and If they don’t cancel it, contact the HHS Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or visit the Inspector General website to file a complaint.
What about scheduling vaccine appointments for children over 5 and adults?
Vaccine.gov has an interactive list of locations nationwide offering COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech (for individuals 5 and older) and from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (for adults 18 and older).
Adults can schedule a vaccine or booster appointment with their primary care physician or at a medical center. For kids ages 6 months to 11 years old, a pediatrician or children’s hospital is a good starting place.
Local and national pharmacies — including CVS, Walmart Pharmacy, Rite Aid and Walgreens — are all distributing COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. Check with your pharmacy for its process for making an appointment and the age groups it is vaccinating.
CVS and some Target locations with CVS pharmacies are distributing vaccines by appointment only, but you can schedule them online.
Walmart Pharmacy and some Sam’s Club locations are offering vaccines by appointment through Walmart’s vaccine scheduler.
Create a Walgreens account to find appointments or sign up for updates on vaccines in your area.
If you live in a state with a Rite Aid, make an appointment on its website and you’re set.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.