COVID-19

Health Department to Expand Vaccine Appointments to Children

Health department adds youth vaccine appointments after FDA, CDC signal approval of lower doses for ages 5 to 11

By Micah Drew
A COVID-19 vaccine is administered at Heritage Place nursing home in Kalispell on Jan. 16, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Beginning on Nov. 10, the Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) will administer vaccine doses to children aged 5 to 11. Youth vaccinations will be given out at the health department on Wednesday afternoons by appointment only, as the doses differ from the adult vaccine. Vaccinations will continue to be offered for individuals aged 12 and older on Tuesdays at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.

“It is exciting to see the vaccine distribution expand into pediatric populations,” Flathead City-County Health Officer Joe Russell said. “Youth vaccinations are more conducive to smaller clinic settings rather than mass vaccinations, which is why we’ve decided to move forward with our in-house appointments.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the final approval to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot on Tuesday, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11. The doses are one-third of the amount given to teens and adults.

The announcement by the CDC director came shortly after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to the 28 million in that age group.

“Our Department has always played a supporting role in providing safe and effective vaccines to children, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no different,” Russell said. “Our staff will work hard to provide vaccine to this newly eligible population as efficiently as possible.”

Appointments can be made on the FCCHD website at https://www.flatheadhealth.org/make-an-appointment/. This scheduling site will be updated regularly to reflect staffing and vaccine availability.

In addition to the FCCHD, COVID-19 vaccine may be available at various other locations around Flathead County. Individuals may visit vaccinefinder.org and type in their zip code to find the nearest locations to receive a vaccine, or you may contact your local healthcare provider.

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