After months of waiting, children ages 5 to 11 can now be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use for the age group on Nov. 2. Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine contains one-third of the dosage given to those 12 and older to minimize side effects.
“Immunization is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health,” El Paso Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said in a statement. “Vaccinating our children not only benefits the child, but also the child’s loved ones who can be infected with the virus.”
In Texas, 22 children have died from COVID-19, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Children under 12 have accounted for 20% of El Paso’s new infections since August, when students returned to classrooms — many for the first time in more than a year. In 2020, El Paso children accounted for 7% of the county’s total infections.
Just like the vaccines for adults, children need two separate shots given three weeks apart to be fully protected against the virus.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free regardless of whether the family has health insurance. It’s recommended that parents and guardians bring a photo ID with them when their child is vaccinated, as well as their health insurance information, if available.
Here’s where El Pasoan children can get the vaccine:
El Paso Department of Public Health
The city of El Paso Department of Public Health is currently scheduling appointments for vaccinations at the Downtown Convention Center, its re-opened ‘mega-site’ at 301 George Perry Boulevard or four city-run clinics. The sites are open Monday through Saturday, though hours vary.
Appointments are made online here or by calling 915-212-6843.
The Hospitals of Providence
The hospital will be offering the vaccine to children during a Nov. 13 clinic at both its East campus and children’s hospital. Appointments are required and are made online here.
El Paso Children’s Hospital
Appointments can be made online here or by calling 915-298-5433. The hospital has vaccination clinics scheduled for Nov. 8, 10, 11, 12 and 16.
University Medical Center
Appointments can be made at the hospital’s community clinics by calling 915-790-5700.
Immunize El Paso
The nonprofit organization allows for walk-in appointments at its three clinics, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. For more information, call 915-533-3414. Appointments can also be scheduled online.
Immunize El Paso has partnered with the El Paso, Ysleta and Socorro independent school districts to organize afternoon pop-up clinics at various elementary and middle schools from Nov. 8-Dec. 13. These clinics are open to anyone, regardless of enrollment in the district. The schedule can be found here and children can pre-register for a time slot in advance.
National pharmacy chains
Walgreens will begin vaccinating children on Nov. 6 at select stores nationwide. Appointments are made online or by calling 1-800-Walgreens.
Select CVS Pharmacy stories will start vaccinating children Nov. 7. Appointments are made online.
Walmart and Sam’s Club will begin vaccinating children in the coming days, and appointments are scheduled online.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is sending pediatric COVID-19 vaccines to private pharmacies, pediatricians’ offices and community health clinics. Those locations can be found here.
The CDC also has a national online vaccine locator.
Cover photo: El Paso Children’s Hospital administered its first pediatric COVID-19 vaccines Nov. 2, hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use in children aged 5-11. (Courtesy El Paso Children’s Hospital)