WASHINGTON — COVID-19 vaccines are now available to millions of elementary-age children in what health officials have hailed as a major breakthrough in the pandemic vaccination effort.
The federal government has promised enough vaccine to protect the nation’s 28 million kids ages 5-11 and vowed the rollout will not be as limited as it was initially for adults.
Kid-sized doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine cleared two final hurdles Tuesday — a recommendation from CDC advisers followed by a green light from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Where can I schedule a COVID-19 vaccine for my child?
CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are among the major pharmacy and drugstore chains that plan to start vaccinations for kids ages 5-11 in the coming days. Pediatricians’ offices and hospitals also began inoculating children on Wednesday, with schools and other locations planning to follow suit in the days ahead.
How to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids at CVS
Starting Sunday, Nov. 7, select CVS pharmacy locations will begin offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 to 11.
CVS Health said Wednesday that 1,700 locations are now accepting appointments for the pediatric vaccine. Parents should schedule an appointment online at CVS.com or through the CVS pharmacy app.
CVS Health said it plans introduce "child-friendly elements in the coming weeks designed to help motivate and reward the children and help keep them entertained" during the 15-minute post-vaccination observation period.
How to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids at Walgreens
Walgreens announced Wednesday that it will begin offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 in thousands of stores starting Saturday, Nov. 6.
The company said appointments are now available and can be made through the appointment scheduler at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, through the Walgreens app or by calling 1-800-Walgreens.
Additional appointments will be added in the coming weeks as Walgreens gets additional vaccine doses, according to Wednesday's announcement.
Walgreens said there will be appointments specifically focused on after-school hours with select stores offering additional appointments on Saturdays through Nov. 20.
Stores will have activity sheets, stickers and Tootsie Pops to help kids pass the time during the required 15-minute post-vaccination observation period.
How to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids at Walmart, Sam's Club
Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies will begin offering kids' COVID-19 vaccines "starting later this week," according to a online post by Lisa Smith, Walmart's Sr. Director of Clinical Strategy and Operations.
Smith said that the pediatric vaccine will be available in more than 5,100 pharmacies, though supply may be limited initially.
Parents and guardians can use Walmart’s online appointment scheduler to find an available Pfizer vaccine in their communities. Once you filter by age, the tool will show locations administering the kids' Pfizer vaccine in your neighborhood.
Walk-ins will be accepted, based on availability, according to Smith's post.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine at a Walmart or Sam's Club, visit Walmart.com/covidvaccine or samsclub.com/pharmacy/immunizations.
How to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids at Rite Aid
Rite Aid said Wednesday it expects to begin pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations at select store locations starting Saturday, Nov. 6.
The first appointments can be booked through Rite Aid's online scheduling tool beginning Thursday, Nov. 4.
How to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids at Hy-Vee
Hy-Vee said it is now accepting appointments at select pharmacy locations for the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The company stressed it only has a limited supply of doses, so walk-ins will not be accepted at this time.
Parents and legal guardians can use Hy-Vee's online scheduler to search for locations that currently have the kids-sized doses available.
Thousands of pediatricians pre-ordered doses, and Pfizer began shipments soon after the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Friday to authorize emergency use. Pfizer said it expects to make 19,000 shipments totaling about 11 million doses in the next several days, and that millions more will be available to order on a weekly basis.
The vaccine — one-third the dose given to older children and adults and administered with kid-sized needles — requires two doses three weeks apart, plus two more weeks for full protection to kick in. That means children who get vaccinated before Thanksgiving will be covered by Christmas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.