TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Children ages 5 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s low-dose COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11. The low dosage is said to minimize the vaccine’s side effects, but still produce strong immunity. The shot is given in a two-dose series, three weeks apart. All kids ages 5 through 11 can get the vaccine, but immunocompromised children and those with preexisting conditions should consult a pediatrician before they get vaccinated. Children in Florida won’t need a doctor’s note to get vaccinated, but they will need their parent’s consent, since Florida is one of 41 states that requires it.
The Biden Administration said it ordered enough doses to vaccinate the country’s 28 million children ages 5-11 years old. Around 15 million doses of the vaccine was being shipped to doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites across the United States, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Monday.
“So, starting the week of Nov. 8, the kids’ vaccination program will be fully up and running,” Zients added. “Parents will be able to schedule appointments at convenient sites they know and trust to get their kids vaccinated. And the number of sites will continue to increase throughout the month as more vaccine sites open their doors to administer vaccine.”
Although Florida opened vaccination sites for adults earlier this year, there are currently no plans in place for state-run sites for children. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday reiterated his opposition to such sites, saying “the vaccines are going to everybody in the normal medical system the way it is.”
“So we’re not doing vaccine sites [for kids]. They’re at the pharmacies, they’re readily available for everybody,” the governor said at a press conference in Jacksonville.
Some doctors offices and clinics have already begun receiving shipments of the vaccine. Dr. Nancy Silva of Small World Pediatrics in Pasco County said her shipment should arrive at the local health department on Friday.
“They either ship it or you arrange a pick up, so we opted for a pick up so we could start sooner than later,” Dr. Silva told News Channel 8.
The doctor said she has plenty of people on her vaccine appointment waitlist.
“We already have at least 50 people that want it like now.”
The country’s two largest pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens, began accepting appointments for the vaccine this week and plan to begin administering them over the weekend.
News Channel 8 is reaching out to a number of stores, clinics and health centers in Tampa Bay to see when they plan to make vaccines available to kids. This story will be updated.
In the meantime, parents can visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site in their zip code. For more help, parents can call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 800-232-0233. Those with disabilities can call the Disability Information and Access Line is 888-677-1199.
Walgreens will begin administering the vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 starting Saturday, Nov. 6. Parents and guardians can make an appointment by visiting Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, the Walgreens app or calling 1-800-Walgreens.
CVS plans to begin administering the vaccine at select pharmacies Florida on Sunday, Nov. 7. Parents and guardians can make appointments on CVS.com and the CVS App.
“Additional details on our administration plans to follow,” a CVS representative told News Channel 8.
Walmart, Sam’s Club
Walmart and Sam’s Club said they plan to administer the vaccine to eligible children in more than 5,100 pharmacies nationwide “starting later this week as supply allows.” To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit Walmart.com/covidvaccine or samsclub.com/pharmacy/immunizations.