Here's where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Austin for the youngest age group eligible
The federal government this month approved COVID-19 vaccinations for the youngest recipients yet: children ages 6 months to 5 years.
Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County health authority, says vaccines for this age group are safe and effective.
"We also know from the data that we've collected throughout this pandemic that COVID is among the leading causes of death for children in this age group," she told KUT. "So it's really important that we protect our children. And now we have a way to do that."
There are two vaccines available for this age group. The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series, given four weeks apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a three-dose series. The first two shots are given three weeks apart, and the third eight weeks later.
Parents might be considering waiting until the start of the school year to maximize the vaccine's effectiveness, but Austin Regional Clinic pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Knapp said it's better to vaccinate kids as soon as possible.
“It's really rare, but some kids get very sick with COVID, and they go to the hospital or they have to enter into the ICU, [which is] even worse. Getting the vaccine keeps your baby from getting that seriously sick if they do get COVID,” Knapp said. “There's not a reason to delay getting the vaccine.”
She said the benefits also outweigh the potential side effects.
“The dose that we give babies for the Pfizer vaccine is a 10th of the adult dose; it's a very small dose,” Knapp said. “Some of the parents I've talked to feel like they don't want to put their child through feeling badly after the vaccine because they felt badly after their COVID vaccine. We have not seen that in our children."
Here's where to get your child vaccinated in Austin:
Austin Public Health
Children can get Moderna shots at the old Simms Elementary gym. No appointment is needed. You can also make an appointment to get a Pfizer shot at a Shots for Tots clinic. All COVID vaccinations from APH are free.
Austin Regional Clinic
ARC is offering Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations for children at all of its locations. It will begin scheduling appointments this week.
Walgreens is offering Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations for children ages 3 and up.
CVS Minute Clinic
CVS is providing Pfizer vaccinations for children 18 months and older at its Minute Clinics.
Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are available for kids 3 years old and up at select H-E-B pharmacy locations.