Parents have been scheduling appointments for their kids through their pediatrician’s office or through their local pharmacy, but starting Friday, parents can bring their kids ages 5 to 11 to any Cook County Health site to get the COVID shot.
“All our clinics are ready to go throughout the city and county, as well as Stroger Hospital and Provident Hospital,” said Dr. Gregory Huhn.
Thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses are ready for young kids in Cook County after the CDC issued an emergency use authorization for shots for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
“This is an exciting moment,” said Dr. Huhn. “We know that for kids right now kids represent about 27% of all infections in the nation. One of the growing segments of hospitalization actually is in children as well.”
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
Huhn is leading the vaccination efforts for Cook County Health, and said his 11-year-old son has been eager to get the shot.
“I think it’s a very hopeful moment right now and I can see that in my son’s eyes I’m going to be there with him tomorrow when he gets vaccinated," Huhn said.
Parents can get their kids vaccinated Friday by walking into any Cook County Health site, or make an appointment by phone.
Booking appointments online won’t be available until next week.
Pharmacies, like Walgreens and CVS already taking appointments online at select locations, with pediatric shots set to begin this weekend.
“Part of the reasons these locations we selected to be doing the pediatric Pfizer vaccine is those immunizers will be focused solely on giving immunizations so they’re dedicated to that,” said CVS Health Pharmacy Operations Leader Ashlee Slocum. “They’ve also been given additional training.”
Other parents will opt to go through their family pediatrician.
“It’s a sense of relief that our children will be protected and we’ll be able to continue to protect each other,” said Laurie Skurow.
Skurow told NBC 5 her 7-year-old son is getting the flu and COVID shot next Tuesday.
“I’m excited that the idea even if he gets sick, even if he does get COVID, that the risk is so much lower of him getting sick or passing it on to someone else,” she said.
The pediatric dose is a third of the amount given to adolescents and adults. Dr. Huhn said the Pfizer vaccine has proven to be 91% effective in kids.
“We’re able to use lower doses, smaller needles, smaller syringes, lower volumes in order to deliver the same amount of protection,” he said.