A guide to COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 in Charlotte – Axios Charlotte

Ashley Mahoney

Thousands of children in North Carolina under age 5 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Catch up quick: The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children as young as 6 months on June 17, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle P. Walensky approved the recommendation the following day.

By the numbers: More than  10,000 North Carolina children under age 5 were vaccinated as of July 6, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which equates to 2% of the state’s population. This data is updated every Wednesday.

  • You can find a vaccine provider by using your zip code.

Why it matters: COVID-19 vaccines for kids got off to slow start in some parts of the country, as Axios’ Alissa Widman Neese reported, which raises the question of vaccine hesitancy among parents of young children. However, given this age group has been eligible for less than a month, it is too soon to tell. 

How it works: The vaccination process is slightly different for this age group.

  • The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, is a three-dose series for children, while it’s a two-dose process for adults. The first two shots are administered three weeks apart, per Atrium Health, and the third shot takes place at least two months later.
  • Plus it is a lower dose for children in this age group. The dose breakdown is: 3 micrograms for those under age 5, 10 micrograms for those age 5-11 and 30 micrograms for those 12 years and older.
  • Moderna is a two-dose vaccine. Children 6 months to 5 years receive two 25-microgram doses one month apart.

The big picture: The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for every child, even those who had COVID-19. NCDHHS recommends waiting until children have completely recovered from the virus before getting a vaccination, and if a child has mild symptoms, waiting at least 10 days after the first positive test.

The bottom line: Anyone who is at least 6 months old is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Vaccines are free and available to everyone, regardless their insurance or immigration status.
  • Also, side effects in children are similar to those in adults: sore arm, tired, headache, etc.

Here’s a look at what’s going on in Charlotte. 

Atrium Health is only offering Pfizer vaccines at the moment, and you must schedule a vaccine appointment. Atrium Health spokesperson Jerrika Swartz told Axios their “partners with the state are the ones gathering statistics about vaccination numbers.”

Novant Health is also only offering Pfizer vaccines, and you must schedule an appointment at one of their pediatric or family medicine clinics.

  • Novant began administering vaccines to young kids on June 27, and have administered 202 as of July 5.

StarMed provides vaccines across four locations for scheduled appointments and walk-ups. As of July 5, they have administered 841 vaccines. StarMed began administering vaccines to this age group on June 22.

Mecklenburg County Public Health began administering vaccines to the youngest age group on June 23 at immunization clinics at the Northwest Health Department (2845 Beatties Ford Road) and the Southeast Health Department (249 Billingsley Road) on a walk-in basis during regular business hours, which are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 8:30am-11:30am and 1pm-4:30pm; and Wednesdays from 10:30am-1:30pm and 3pm-6:30pm. 
  • You can also schedule an appointment by calling 704-336-6500.
  • 951 children have been vaccinated in Mecklenburg County per NCDHHS.

What they’re saying: Vaccination is still the best defense against severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington said in a statement.

Of note: Children under 5 can also receive vaccines at pharmacies, community clinics and vaccination events. 

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