On Nov. 2, a COVID-19 vaccine for young children received federal approval. Within days, pharmacies in Northeast Florida began offering the first shots, and other entities will start this week.
Here’s what you need to know:
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Who can do the trick?
Federal approval from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Ages of 12 and older were already eligible; now up to 28 million younger children are eligible across the country.
What is the dosage?
The vaccine for young children is one third the dose of the vaccine for 12 years and older. To date, approximately 425 million full doses have been administered in the United States. The childhood vaccine will be delivered in two shots at least three weeks apart.
What does it mean?
In children, according to the CDC, the vaccine limits serious illness and death from the coronavirus, just as it does in adults. Since the start of the pandemic, 94 U.S. children ages 5 to 11 have died from the coronavirus and about 8,300 have been hospitalized, according to the agency.
In clinical trials, the vaccination was found to be nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 to 11, said CDC director Rochelle Walensky. The side effects of the vaccine were mild, the most common a sore arm, she said.
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Where can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine?
For locations near you, visit vaccins.gov. Many pediatricians and general practitioners will receive the vaccine this week or in the coming weeks. Several pharmacies and grocers now also offer the vaccine:
• Walgreens: walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid/19/landing or call 1-800-Walgreens.
• CVS: cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link1-covid19-vaccine.
• Publix: publix.com/covid-vaccine.
• Winn-Dixie: winndixie.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine.
• Walmart and Sam’s Club: walmart.com/cp/flu-shots-immunizations/1228302, samsclub.com/pharmacy
• Harveys: harveyssupermarkets.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine
• Panama Pharmacy: panamarx.com.
Soon, four childhood vaccination clinics will be held in Duval County’s public schools on Fridays from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Parents must sign a consent form. Forms can be downloaded at teamduval.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/DOH-Screening-and-Consent-Form-102521-final.pdf, but will be available during the events:
• First Coast High School, 590 Duval Station Road
• Riverside High School, 1200 S McDuff Ave.
• Springfield Middle School, 2034 Hubbard St.
• Landmark Middle School, 101 N. Kernan Blvd.
The second vaccine dose will be available at the same school locations from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Dec 4. Another parental consent form is required.
UF Health Jacksonville family medicine and pediatricians are expected to receive the vaccine in the coming weeks, a spokesperson said. The Duval County health department is expected to offer the vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 soon, too, has not announced a schedule.
Other hospitals in the region said they had no plans to offer the vaccine except to their own patients.
As part of a day of honor and appreciation for veterans and COVID-19 heroes, the Jacksonville COVID-19 Task Force will offer vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, as well as vaccines for the elderly and booster shots for children ages 12 and older, at 2 p.m. Saturday. The event will take place at James Weldon Johnson Park, 135 W. Monroe St.
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How do I prepare my child for the injection?
Here’s what the CDC recommends: First, talk to your child about what to expect.
Do not give them painkillers beforehand and tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies beforehand. According to the CDC, the child should sit or lie down during the vaccination and for 15 minutes afterwards to avoid fainting and related injuries.
And as with adult vaccinations, in case of an allergic reaction, your child should sit for 15 to 30 minutes after the injection. But serious allergic reactions are rare, according to the CDC.
Does my vaccinated child still have to wear a face mask at school?
Yes, according to Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at UF Health Jacksonville. The CDC also still recommends masks for children, according to a Friday update.
“Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all students (ages 2 and up), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC said.
On Nov. 1, Duval County Public Schools lifted its mandate that students and staff wear masks on campus. The school district cited COVID-19 rates falling in Jacksonville.
When Can Children Under 5 Get a Vaccine?
Testing is currently underway for potential COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 6 months to 5 years. According to news reports, they are not expected to be available before early 2022.
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