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CDPH Commission Allison Arwady, M.D.

CDPH Commission Allison Arwady, M.D.

COVID-19 vax now available for kids

From staff reports

With final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, all children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, Chicago Department of Public Health officials announced late last week.

Pediatric vaccine doses have already begun to arrive in Chicago with more being delivered this week. Providers can begin to administer them immediately, and parents can get more information at chi.gov/youthvax.

“This is great news for our children and our families, and a decision that I know parents have been waiting for,” CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. said. “We have been planning our roll out for weeks, have received delivery of close to 30,000 doses already, and vaccinations can begin right away.”

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CDPH Commission Allison Arwady, M.D.

While using the same “formula” as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adults, the dose for 5-to-11-year-olds is one-third the dose of adults. Like adult vaccinations, the pediatric vaccine includes two doses that should be administered three weeks apart. All COVID-19 vaccines for children are free, with no insurance or government ID required.

“Getting our children vaccinated against COVID-19 is another important step to putting the pandemic behind us,” Arwady added. “While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, data show children are as likely to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 as adults, and can spread the virus to others. And children ages 5 to 11 can get sick from COVID-19—there have been 8,300 hospitalizations to date, and hospitalization rates are three times higher for black, LatinX and American Indian children. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself, your family and community against COVID-19.”

Arwady urged parents to talk to their child’s healthcare provider or visit trusted websites to learn more about the vaccine, and make a plan to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

There are a number of ways for children to get vaccinated:

  • Family health care providers– CDPH recommends families first reach out to their pediatrician or family medical provider to see if appointments are available.
  • Chicago Public Schools sites– CPS’ regional vaccination clinics and mobile school-based events began offering the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 to 11 starting on Nov. 10. For details, visit cps.edu/vaccinations.
  • Local pharmacies– Across the city, many pharmacy locations already have vaccines and more will receive doses in the coming weeks. Each has its own registration.
  • Select children’s hospitalswill host pediatric vaccine events – check hospital websites for dates and more information.
  • CDPH will host family vaccination clinics at City Colleges of Chicago. These events will offer pediatric COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines, as well as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and booster doses to all Chicagoans. You must be 18 or older to receive a J&J vaccine. All clinics will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is required at chi.gov/YouthVax. Southwest Sites include Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski, on Saturdays, Nov. 13 and Dec. 4.
  • Starting Nov. 15, CDPH’s in-home vaccination program, Protect Chicago At Home, will offer pediatric vaccination for all children age 5 to 11. Make an at-home appointment at Chicago.gov/AtHome or by calling (312) 746-4835.
  • Standing CDPH immunization clinicswill also offer pediatric COVID-19 vaccines by appointment only. This includes Greater Lawn WIC, 4150 W. 55th St. Call (312) 745-1477 for an appointment.
  • Starting Nov. 15, all CDPH-sponsored community events will offer pediatric vaccinations. For the calendar of community events, visit Chicago.gov/VaxCalendar.

All 5-to-11-year-olds will be eligible for $100 in Visa gift cards ($50 card for each dose) when receiving their vaccine at CDPH events or clinics. Please note, booster doses, while available at CDPH events and through Protect Chicago At Home, do not qualify for incentives.

At most vaccination locations, parents must accompany the child. Exceptions include CPS school-located vaccination clinics, school-based health centers, and some healthcare providers with signed consent forms from a parent or guardian.

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