Late last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 in the United States. After a number of clinical trials, the effectiveness of the vaccine in children was found to be comparable to people ages 16-25, and was 90.7 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 in children.

The vaccine is being administered in a two-dose series, three weeks apart, but the dose is lower than that in adult shots (10 micrograms as opposed to 30). Pediatricians are now recommending the vaccine for their patients, especially because children who contract Covid-19 can suffer short- and long-term effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome. In the United States, Covid-19 cases in children aged 5 to 11 make up 39 percent of the cases in minors, and approximately 8,300 Covid-19 cases in children 5 to 11 resulted in hospitalization.

While local Department of Health locations do not yet have the pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine, retail pharmacies are offering the vaccine for those 5-11. Appointments are required at all locations:

CVS Pharmacy
Several locations available. Open daily; hours vary.

Walgreens
Several locations available. Open daily; hours vary.

Publix
Several locations available. Open daily; hours vary.

Ellenton Discount Pharmacy
8324 U.S. 301 N. Parrish, (941) 444-2233
Open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Lakewood Ranch Pharmacy
6310 Health Park Way, Suite 130, Bradenton, (941) 907-1500
Open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday; closed Sunday.

Familycare Discount Pharmacy
3633 Cortez Road W., Unit 9, Bradenton, (941) 914-9991
Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

To find other available vaccination locations near you, visit vaccines.gov.

What else should you know before vaccinating your child?

1. The shot will hurt. Let kids know that the vaccination will hurt for just a little while, and they may experience soreness at the injection site the next day.

2. There may be side effects. Common side effects in the Food and Drug Administration clinical trials included sore arm, redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite. Most children reported side effects after the second dose, rather than the first. Side effects, however were mild in severity, like a common cold, and went away within two days.

3. Children can safely get the Covid and flu vaccine at the same time. According to Harvard Health, children and adults can safely get both vaccines on the same day, as long as they are done in different arms.

4. Children with food allergies can still get vaccinated. According to Dr. Leana Wen, CNN's medical analyst, Covid-19 vaccines do not contain egg products, as some other vaccines do. "If your child has a food allergy or had a reaction to another vaccine in the past, that is not reason to refrain from the Covid-19 vaccine," she writes. Parents of children with food allergies should still check with their pediatrician if they've had a prior reaction to a vaccine.

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