How soon could D.C.-area children 12 to 15 years old get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after it received emergency use authorization Monday? It could be as early as this week.
Preregistration to be invited to sign up for COVID-19 shots are no longer required in the D.C. area, and just like with adults — walk ups as young as 12 will be welcome at any vaccine clinic in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, for example.
“Just make sure that they have Pfizer, right?” said Nilesh Kalyanaraman, Anne Arundel County’s health officer.
During a Tuesday virtual briefing, he said it’ll work just like a normal doctor’s visit.
“When you’re bringing your kid, we need to know who the parent is and they can register their child and provide the consent,” he said.
Generally, anyone 17 and younger needs parental permission for health services, including vaccines.
The goal to get as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible in Anne Arundel County includes pop up clinics at four high schools over each of the next three Wednesdays.
“So, we’ll get to all 12 high schools in the matter of three weeks,” Kalyanaraman said.
Kalyanaraman said Pfizer vaccine supplies are coming in regularly and will be distributed to COVID-19 shot clinics countywide.
A statement from Maryland Department of Health on Monday said it welcomes the Pfizer news and will work closely with providers to prepare for vaccinating kids in the age group. Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan said that as soon as the Pfizer vaccine was approved, the state would ramp up vaccinations and help get children vaccinated at schools.
Officials in Montgomery County said they’re already planning strategies to vaccinate young people, and it could involve clinics on school grounds.
Elsewhere, Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination coordinator, said while there are a few hoops to jump through, shots could be going into arms soon.
“Really by Thursday or Friday, it’s pretty realistic that vaccine will be available to those who are 12 to 15 years old,” Avula said.
Virginia ordered a significant supply of the Pfizer vaccine this past week in anticipation of its emergency authorization approval, Avula said.
He added that Virginia has been working with school systems for several weeks in hopes of getting children vaccines in schools before the year ends. Avula said.
“But these students and their families will have lots of opportunities to get vaccinated right now. There is plenty supply of Pfizer,” Avula said.
As to whether parents will be motivated to get their kids the Pfizer vaccine, Avula said he’s optimistic.
“My hope is that people recognize the inherent benefits to vaccination, not only are you protecting each individual from contracting COVID, but also the communal benefit,” he said.
There are about 425,000 children aged 12 to 15 years old in Virginia.
Prince William Health District Director Dr. Alison Ansher said in a statement that when final approval is given, eligible children can get the shot at multiple locations, including at the vaccination site at the old Gander Mountain store in Woodbridge.
Other clinics include those at CVS Pharmacy, Safeway, Mason and Partner Clinic and Manassas Mall. The school system will help with communication and transportation for families, Ansher said.
In D.C., Children’s National Hospital recently opened a COVID-19 vaccine preregistration website for residents of D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland, who are ages 12 to 15.
If a parent has a child ages 12 or older who is interested in receiving the vaccine through Children’s, they must first be preregistered through the site. The hospital will then reach out to the family once the child becomes eligible.
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