Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years of age, Montgomery County is now vaccinating young people in this age group.
The County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) began vaccinating children at County-operated clinics in this age group on Thursday, Nov. 4. The vaccine also will be available at pharmacies, private physicians and retailers, such as CVS, Giant, Safeway and Walgreens, to help make the vaccination more available to the estimated 100,000 children who are ages 5 to 11 in the County.
Beginning Friday, Nov. 5, County-operated clinics will offer pediatric vaccines on weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m. In addition, there will be school-based clinics on Saturdays and Sundays Appointments are required and can be made at www.GoVaxMoco.com.
“Having full approval to vaccinate kids from 5 to 11 is a game changer in our fight against COVID-19,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our focus now will be to get shots in the arms of as many kids as possible in an equitable way. Our success over the last year has been grounded in making sure that we made the vaccine available to people in our most vulnerable communities and we will keep that same focus as we vaccinate our young children. Yesterday’s approval now gives us the ability to ensure that our communities and County are safer and keep our children in school and learning.”
The County has received nearly 14,000 pediatric doses from the Maryland Department of Health for the first distribution to local health departments, which is the maximum weekly amount for local jurisdictions in Maryland.
“We know that many parents have been anxiously awaiting the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for younger children,” said James Bridgers, the acting County health officer. “Because vaccine delivery amount will take some time to ramp up, parents are urged to be patient, as there will not be enough supply initially to vaccinate all eligible children immediately. The Maryland Department of Health has assured local health departments across the State that vaccine supplies will continue to be distributed weekly and we have been working closely with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and other partners to vaccinate children across the County. There are more than 200 locations other than County clinics that will be offering vaccinations and we encourage residents to look at all these options for their children.”
In preparation for CDC’s approval, County health officials have worked closely with the State regarding the limited initial pediatric vaccine supply. The County also partnered with the local private health care sector—including local hospitals, pediatricians and pharmacies. This will allow for greater capacity to administer vaccines, particularly once the number of pediatric doses that the County receives increases.
The County is also working to ensure vaccine is distributed equitably and that includes hosting school-based clinics in areas where vaccination rates are lower and case counts are high. The County will require appointments, initially, to ensure that there is enough vaccine at each site. MCPS is working with DHHS to help community members make appointments. Additional appointments will be posted on the County’s vaccination page.