Vaccine clinic

Medical staff bring out COVID-19 vaccine doses during a Denton County Public Health clinic Oct. 6 in Little Elm. DCPH’s upcoming clinics for children ages 5-11 will be at the Denton County Morse Street Facility — indoors rather than drive-thru, so parents can assist their children.

Denton County Public Health has opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to children ages 5-11 and soon will host kid-friendly clinics specifically for young children and their parents starting next week, the department announced Wednesday.

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for ages 5-11, local parents now can register their children on DCPH’s list to receive the vaccine. As with other age groups, children will receive the shot in two doses, with the second given at least three weeks after the first. But for kids between 5 and 11, the Pfizer dosage is one-third that of an adult dose.

“Prioritizing children who have now patiently waited 20 months for protection from COVID-19 is now our greatest priority,” DCPH Director Matt Richardson stated in the news release. “We know children can get and spread COVID-19, and vaccination remains the best way to protect them. With over 70,000 children in Denton County now eligible, we are eager to provide our clinics alongside the many pediatricians and pharmacies offering vaccines to children.”

The county will host several pediatric-only vaccine clinics for the newly eligible children and their parents. Those will begin next week with three indoor clinics at the Denton County Morse Street Facility, rather than the drive-thru model the department has used frequently.

“The children will be vaccinated in individual rooms instead of that large setting,” DCPH spokesperson Jennifer Rainey said. “That’s so parents can assist their children and keep them calmer.”

Because the dosage is smaller and comes in a different concentration more suited for children, providers can’t vaccinate children with their existing Pfizer stock. Rainey said DCPH has already received 8,100 of the new doses after making an order in anticipation of the announcement.

Second-dose appointments will operate the same as the other age groups, Rainey said, which means parents can set up a child’s next dose after three weeks have passed. The department recommends checking with other health care providers as well, especially if a child gets nervous about shots and would be more familiar with their pediatrician’s office.

“It might be a little different than when your child goes to a pediatrician,” Rainey said. “If there’s a location they can go [that] their kid is comfortable with, we absolutely encourage that.”

Parents can register their children through the county’s online vaccine registration system at dentoncounty.gov/vaccine. Once registered, they will receive a self-scheduling message allowing them to choose a clinic and appointment time that works best. For the clinics, children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must bring identification with name and date of birth, such as birth certificates, medical records or vaccine records.

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