Now that the CDC has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, parents started bringing their kids to Billings Clinic for their shots Friday.
Evelyn Allen, 10, was among the first to receive her first dose of the COVID-19 shot at Billings Clinic.
“I’ve always wanted to be more protected from COVID,” said Evelyn.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for children will be similar to how adults received their shots. Kids will get their first dose followed by a second dose three weeks later. The dosage of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is about a third of the dosage for teenagers and adults.
Dr. Erin Allen is the mother of Evelyn and a pediatrician at the Billings hospital.
“Interestingly, vaccine dosing is based on the expected response from the immune system, so most of the time we dose medications in kids based on how big they are, based on their weight. But this is a little different, so we expect kids in this age range to have a pretty similar immune response,” said Allen.
Parents will have options when it comes to where to vaccinate their kids.
“So definitely we’ll be able to offer vaccines through appointment through us here at Billings Clinic, so folks can make appointments with their pediatricians or their family medicine providers for that,” Allen said.
RiverStone Health is also organizing community clinics that won’t require appointments. These community clinics will be located at MetraPark starting on Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon. A number of local pharmacies will have the vaccine available, along with both hospitals and the Children's Clinic.
“We’re really excited to be able to vaccinate our kids today. This has been long coming. As both a mom and a pediatrician, I really feel like the vaccine is the most effective way we can protect our kids,” said Allen.
While kids don’t get as sick as adults from COVID-19, there have been serious cases.
“We’ve had over 700 pediatric deaths in the United States since the pandemic started. Every pediatric death is obviously a tragedy and one we want to avoid,” Allen said.
If you’re concerned about a shortage in supply, Billings Clinic says there should be more than enough doses.