Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine for your toddlers in Florida
Doses are arriving in Florida, although parents looking for shots may have a hard time finding them for a few days. The White House expects most children will receive them at their pediatrician office.
COVID-19 vaccines for children, ages 6 months to 5 years old, have started rolling out across the country.
Doses are arriving in Florida, although parents looking for shots may have a hard time finding them for a few days.
Florida is the only state not ordering its doses through the federal government and handling distribution like the rest of the country. Retail pharmacies, doctors offices, hospitals and community health centers must order them directly from the feds.
"Providers are ordering vaccine now, and they were able to order over the weekend, so there will be deliveries to providers probably starting Wednesday or Thursday," Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, told NPR in an interview.
"So, providers are ordering the vaccine, it is being delivered to them. The retail pharmacies were able to preorder it, so some of them have it. I think it will be harder, and it may be a couple more days before there's more vaccine, but it is being shipped to Florida."
Dr. Joseph Perno, vice president of medical affairs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, said his facility received its first shipment of Moderna doses Tuesday.
He said he is more concerned about the mixed messaging coming from Tallahassee than a shortage of the vaccine.
“The fact that we're getting the vaccine as early as today, I don't think it had a major impact,” he said. “I'm more worried about just the message it sends to our families in the state that the state doesn't seem to be as behind the vaccine as most health care providers are for this age group.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave its final approvalover the weekend.
About 18 million children under 5 nationwide are eligible for the shots.
Moderna's vaccine for that group is two shots about four weeks apart. Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — a three-dose series of shots — is set for 6-month-olds to 4-year-olds, set over about 12 weeks.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration cautioned that it expects the pace of shots for the youngest kids to be slower than older ones, as parents are more likely to rely on their children’s pediatricians to administer them.
Perno recommends that parents looking for the shot should start with at the pediatrician office.
"The first step I would tell parents is, you know, reach out to your pediatrician, see if they're offering the vaccine,” he said. “If not, (check) with the major pharmacy chains, and (check) with local health departments, those would be the best ways to try to figure out where it's at right now."
Some pharmacies are asking that parents contact a pediatrician to schedule a vaccine appointment for children under the age of 3.
- CVS— Vaccinations for children 18 months through 4 years old can be scheduled at MinuteClinic.com.
- Walgreens — Vaccinations for children ages 3 and older are available with appointments beginning Saturday. They can be made on the Walgreens website.
- Sam’s Club — Limited supplies of the vaccine will be available for children ages 3 to 5. Appointments can be made on the Sam’s Club website.
- Walmart — Vaccinations for children ages 3 to 5 can now be made onthe Walmart website. Limited supplies will be available.
Some Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Florida may receive the vaccine for this age group. You can search for one near you here and should call to find out if doses are available.
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