Chicago's COVID-19 vaccination sites will open to children ages 12 to 15 beginning Thursday, with the option to book appointments now, the city has announced.
All city-operated vaccination sites offering the two-dose Pfizer vaccine will open to children ages 12 to 15 on Thursday, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement Tuesday, one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of Pfizer's vaccine in children in that age group.
The FDA's decision does not mean shots are available for kids yet, with the vaccine's expanded use on children still awaiting a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, CDPH said appointments can be booked now for city-run sites in anticipation that federal regulators will allow the vaccine for children by Thursday, noting that the CDC "is expected to grant full approval on Wednesday."
The Chicago sites that will offer the Pfizer vaccine to children, as well as their locations and hours, include:
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- A.A.C.C. @ Gallagher Way Wrigley Field, located at 1119 W. Waveland
- 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
- Apostolic Faith Church, located at 3823 S. Indiana
- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
- Chicago State University Walk-Up, located at 9501 South King Drive (Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center)
- Noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
- United Center Drive-Thru, located at 1724 W. Madison
- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day
- Richard J. Daley College, located at 7500 S. Pulaski
- Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
- Wilbur Wright College, located at 4300 N. Narragansett
- Noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
- Loretto Hospital, located at 645 S. Central
- Noon-6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Appointments can be booked for Chicago sites through www.zocdoc.com/vaccine or by calling the city's call center at 312.746.4835. Chicago officials said all vaccine sites will also accept walk-ins for ages 12 to 15 beginning Thursday.
A parent or guardian must accompany any minor under age 18, the city said, and unvaccinated parents and guardians will be encouraged to receive a vaccine as well.
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“Like adults, all youth age 12 and older are encouraged to get the vaccine,” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “Current data show that the vaccine is safe and effective in children, and it not only protects our kids, but also their families and our communities."
"In Chicago, communities with the lowest vaccination rates continue to have high case counts and rates of hospitalization and death—even in teens and young adults," she continued. "Help us increase vaccine uptake and get past COVID by bringing your whole family to get vaccinated together.”
The FDA's decision on Monday will now be followed by a meeting of the CDC's federal vaccine advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (known as ACIP), to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year-olds.
The ACIP has already set an emergency meeting for Wednesday. According to a previously posted agenda on the CDC's website, the committee will meet virtually beginning at 10 a.m. CT, with a vote scheduled to take place after discussion beginning at 1:45 p.m.
Other vaccination sites and providers in the Chicago area are also already scheduling appointments for children ahead of the CDC's meeting, while others are not scheduling yet but preparing to as soon as it's approved.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital is now scheduling appointments for ages 16 and up, and will offer appointments to age 12 to 15 once approval happens.
A spokesperson for Cook County Health said administrators at its five locations offering the Pfizer vaccine will welcome children, accompanied by a parent, once both the FDA and CDC give the green light. Parents can make appointments and walk-ins will also be welcome.
Chris Hoff, the Director for Community Health Resources in DuPage County, said children ages 12-15, accompanied by a parent, will also be accepted at the community vaccination site at the DuPage County Fairgrounds.
“The goal will be to make sure the vaccine is widely available to a group that really should be prioritized for vaccine, especially as we look to school in the fall and reduction in transmission all over the community,” Hoff said.
In a statement, Hannah Goering, spokesperson for the Lake County Health Department, said last week the department is "still working through the details on logistics and are eagerly awaiting this authorization."
"In addition to offering appointments (with a parent or legal guardian present) at our mass vaccination sites, we are working with area pediatricians and family medicine doctors to help get them set up to offer COVID-19 to their child patients and their families and have over 100 healthcare providers lined up so far," Goering wrote.
A spokesperson for Advocate Children’s Hospital said the hospital "will be ready immediately to begin scheduling adolescents 12-15."
"We are currently already doing ages 16-18," the spokesperson said. "Will not have to be Advocate Aurora patients—we will immunize anyone in that age group. We cannot schedule until approval, but parents will be able to go to www.aah.org to schedule, once approved.”