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Kid-Sized COVID Shots Now Available for Ages 5-11

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The Shelby County Health Department began administering kid-sized COVID-19 shots to 5 to 11-year-olds on Thursday.

Those older than five are the latest age group to become eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The pediatric verison is a lower dose, but like the adult one, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s safe and effective at preventing infections.

The head of the county’s vaccine campaign, Doug McGowen, says some local distributors such as clinics and pharmacies are still waiting on shipments of the smaller vials, but by early next week, parents should have more options for where small children can be vaccinated.

For now, the Health Department is offering shots at its downtown clinic on Jefferson Ave. McGowen says the county’s major drive-thru locations will still only serve people 12 and older.

“These [5 to 11-year-olds] are children and their physiology is very different so you have to take a little extra measure of care when you’re doing them,” he said at a Thursday press briefing. “That’s why we’re being conservative in our rollout, and we’re having special dedicated locations for those vaccinations.”

The county is planning pediatric vaccine clinics at the Glenview and Hickory Hill Community Centers later this month.

COVID infections are decreasing across the county, but adolescents 17 and younger still account for more than 25 percent of active cases.

With the addition of elementary-aged children to the mix, the county has a chance to up its overall vaccination rate. Only about 40 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds have been vaccinated.

Five to 11-year-olds account for almost 10 percent of the local population.

County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor says parents should vaccinate their children as soon as possible.

“We want to continue to have a safe, in-person learning environment for the school year, and this is just another step for getting there,” she said.

Visit the Health Department’s website for additional vaccine information.

Update 11/5/21: The Shelby County Health Department has extended the hours of its vaccination clinic until 7:30 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Week of November 8, 2021: Monday-Wednesday, November 8-10, 2021; and Friday, November 12, 2021.
  • Week of November 15, 2021: Monday-Thursday, November 15-18, 2021.
  • Week of November 22, 2021: Monday-Wednesday, November 22-24, 2021.
  • Week of November 29, 2021: Monday-Tuesday, November 29 and 30, 2021.