District Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Plans for Kids

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Students at Sheridan School are tested for COVID once every 2 weeks. Soon, the District will administer the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5-11. Courtesy: Sheridan School

On Friday, Oct. 29 the District announced initial plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine to children.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be given to children ages 5 to 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meets Nov. 2 to 3 to discuss whether they should recommend kids get the vaccine, taking the FDA recommendation into account.

If CDC Director Rochelle Walensky approves, vaccination could begin nationally as early as the following week, starting Nov. 8, CNN reported.

The District is expected to initially receive 24,600 doses, said the Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). Those will be distributed to pharmacies, hospitals and health centers across DC. 

Once the pediatric Pfizer vaccine is approved and distributed, families will be able to be vaccinated at more than 60 pharmacies, hospitals, and health centers in DC that will have the vaccine. Information about where the vaccine is available will be on vaccines.gov.

No pre-registration will be required for pop-up clinics. Additional information, including days and hours of operation for the pop-up clinics will become available in the upcoming days, said a representative for the Mayor.

To provide additional opportunities for access, families will also be able to go to District operated pop-up sites set up specifically for 5 to 11 year olds. While the District will not use public schools as the primary site to administer the vaccine to students, they will use schools as sites for these clinics.

In Ward 6, the two school sites are Payne Elementary School (1445 C St. SE) and Kipp Friendship Charter School (421 P St. NW). One more site will be located in Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Kennedy Recreation Center (1401 7th St. NW).

In a letter to constituents, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) said this number of clinics was insufficient for the ward.

“I am concerned that this does not cover all our neighborhood and have already asked DOH to add additional sites,” he wrote, “in particular in Southwest where there are no pop-up clinics currently scheduled. While certainly helpful, these three sites don’t meet all the needs or spread out the accessibility across Ward 6. DC Health has committed to me more sites are in the works and that they will focus on greater neighborhood distribution.”

The pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech is also a two-dose vaccine. Families will be given more details about the second dose when they receive their first dose, the Mayor’s office said in a statement. 

Vaccines will initially be available at select community pharmacies such as CVS, Giant, Grubb’s, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart, as well as health clinics throughout the community.

Children’s National Hospital has already announced that in addition to offering the COVID-19 vaccine to their pediatric patients at their eight primary care locations, they will also be offering the vaccine via their Mobile Unit throughout the community. 

The Mayor’s Office has provided a schedule for the first two weeks of the District’s pop-up vaccination clinics for children 5-11 years old. Community groups may request pop-ups through vaccineexchange.dc.gov which helps connect the community to local vaccine providers.

Learn more about District COVID vaccination at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/