Stanislaus County received their first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 years to 11 years and held their first clinic on Thursday.

COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years old have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended for use in all children aged 5-11 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. All three have agreed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective at reducing transmission and preventing severe illness related to the virus for younger children.

“While we’ve seen less severe illness in younger children, COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death nationwide”. said Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, Stanislaus County Public Health Officer. “Expanding COVID-19 vaccines to 5 to 11 year-old children and adolescents is an important step in protecting the health and well-being of the children in our community.”

Public Health encourages parents to talk to their child’s health care provider with any questions related to the vaccine. Like the vaccine for adolescents and adults, the vaccine for this age group will be given as a two-dose series, 21 days apart. The dose for children age 5-11 is one-third of the dosage of the vaccine for older adolescents and adults. The rigorous vaccine trial included approximately 3,100 children in this age range, and those participating were not seen to have serious side effects. Most children in the trial experienced mild side effects such as soreness at the injection site, fatigue, and chills. In addition, over 11 million adolescents ages 12-17 have already safely received this COVID-19 vaccine. 

Parents are encouraged to call their health care providers or local pharmacy to see if they have the vaccine available. 

Vaccines will also be available for 5–11-year-old children at Stanislaus County clinics. Children receiving the vaccine at the county clinics will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian or a designated adult with a consent form. Vaccinations are free to all regardless of immigration status. Appointments can be scheduled at MyTurn.ca.gov or by calling 1-833-422-4255.