ORLANDO, Fla. – The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children as young as 6 months old.
But don’t count on finding any state or county vaccine sites or vaccination events like there were before.
The Moderna two-shot vaccine and Pfizer three-shot vaccine for children under five got emergency authorizations by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.
This time around, Florida is relying on private doctors, pharmacies and federally qualified health centers to distribute those shots to people who want them for their children.
The state chose not to preorder the new vaccines ahead of approval by the FDA and the CDC. Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he is against offering shots for children under 5. Florida is the only state that chose not to preorder the vaccines for children under 5.
This means it may take longer for pediatricians and hospitals in the state to get those vaccines.
One doctor News 6 spoke to said they’ve been waiting two and a half years for this, and vaccinating young children, who make up a large portion of the population, will go a long way toward achieving herd immunity.
“This is definitely the best tool that we have to prevent these issues and try to get out of this pandemic once and for all,” Dr. Salma Elfaki said.
Meanwhile, pharmacies enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccines can begin scheduling vaccines for children under the age of five this week.
In Florida there are several major pharmacies enrolled in the program. News 6 reached out to them and these are the answers we’ve gotten so far:
- CVS Health — Vaccinations for children 18 months through 4 years old starting Tuesday, June 21. You can make an appointment at MinuteClinic.com.
- Publix — At this time Publix is not offering vaccines to children under 5.
- Sam’s Club — Vaccinations for children ages 3 to 5 can now be scheduled. Supplies will be limited. They can be scheduled on the Sam’s Club website.
- Walgreens — Vaccinations for children ages 3 and older, appointments will begin Saturday, June 25. They can be scheduled on the Walgreens website.
- Walmart — Vaccinations for children ages 3 to 5 can now be scheduled. Supplies will be limited. They can be scheduled on the Walmart website.
- Winn-Dixie — Vaccinations for children ages 3 and up at select in-store pharmacies starting at the end of the week. Appointments can be scheduled on the Winn-Dixie website.
Federally Qualified Health Centers
FQHCs are community centers that provide comprehensive health services, often in under-served areas, that get special funding from the federal government. They operated on a sliding scale for fees.
Because they have the special designation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shipments of vaccines go right to those health centers.
However, not every community health center offers vaccines. You just have to go to the individual websites or call to find out.
To find a community health center near you that is offering vaccines for children under 5, use the Find a Health Center tool on the federal government website.
Other health centers
Omni Healthcare in Brevard County says it is now offering vaccines for children 6 months and up at five locations, and an appointment is not necessary.
- 6100 Minton Rd., Suite 105, Palm Bay
- 6300 N. Wickham Rd., Suite 132B, Melbourne
- 2501 W. New Haven Ave., second flood, Melbourne
- 1344 S. Apollo Boulevard, Suite 303, Melbourne
- 2181 S. Patrick Drive, Indian Harbour Beach