Providers across Arizona are set to begin offering safe, free, and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11 following this week’s approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Parents already protect their kids against a host of diseases that have been eliminated or all but eliminated thanks to the modern miracle of vaccines,” said Don Herrington, interim director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Now, we can add COVID-19 to that list for the approximately 645,000 Arizona children ages 5 to 11.”
The CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of a new Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 to 11 that is one-third of the amount given to those 12 and older. The CDC announced that distribution of pediatric doses started this week, with plans to scale up to full capacity starting the week Nov. 8.
The ADHS Vaccine Finder at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine now allows parents to filter by pediatric vaccine providers, including retail pharmacies.
Parents should check with their healthcare provider or pharmacy for availability before taking children to get the vaccine. Walgreens has announced it will begin administering pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations on Saturday, Nov. 6, while CVS announced it will begin on Sunday, Nov. 7.
ADHS has worked closely with public health partners across Arizona to make sure there’s plenty of capacity for pediatric COVID-19 vaccination. This includes recruiting additional pediatric providers to be vaccinators, working with schools and local healthcare providers to identify easily accessible locations for vaccinations, and engaging our health equity partners to ensure plans consider access and vaccination capacity for underserved communities.
All COVID-19 vaccines have undergone exhaustive reviews to ensure that they are safe and effective. Having children vaccinated protects higher-risk children and adults around them who either aren’t vaccinated or could develop a rare breakthrough case of COVID-19.
“Getting children vaccinated protects not only the child and the community, it helps reduce disruptions to in-person learning and other activities that are essential to their development,” Herrington said. “Millions of Arizonans have already been safely vaccinated against COVID-19, and it’s exciting to add kids ages 5 to 11 to the list of those eligible.”
ADHS encourages parents with questions about COVID-19 vaccination to contact their healthcare provider or visit azhealth.gov/FindVaccine. The bilingual ADHS COVID-19 Hotline is available to answer questions about providers and more at 844.542.8201 (select Option 8 to speak with a navigator).