COVID vaccines have finally been authorized and recommended for kids as young as 6 months old, and little kids across the country are finally able to get the shots. But where, exactly? This round of vaccines is a bit harder to schedule than what you may have done for yourself or your older kids.
What is the minimum age to get a COVID vaccine at a pharmacy?
Different pharmacies have different policies about how young a child they can vaccinate. Here are some of the minimum ages at major chains:
CVS can do vaccines for 5-year-olds and up at the pharmacy counter, and for 18 months and up in the MinuteClinic.
Walgreens: ages 3 and up.
Rite Aid: ages 3 and up.
Costco: ages 3 and up.
Kroger’s vaccine scheduler allows you to make appointments for children ages 1 and up.
Walmart has told news outlets it will vaccinate children as young as 3.
Even if your kid meets the age requirement, not every location of every pharmacy will be able to vaccinate young children. The pharmacies say that kids’ vaccines are available at “select locations,” so if you can’t find an appointment near you, expand your search area to include more locations.
The pharmacies may also vary in which vaccine they have available, either the two-dose Moderna or the three-dose Pfizer.
Where else can young children get a COVID vaccine?
The vaccines for young kids come in a different dosage than for older kids and adults, so a location that stocks those vaccines can’t administer the vaccine for younger kids unless they ordered and received that specific version.
The vaccines for this age group are being distributed differently than for older kids, with more of them being sent to doctors’ offices than to pharmacies. So even if you went to a pharmacy for your older kids, you may be able to get your younger kids their shots at their usual doctor’s office or at another nearby clinic.
For kids too young to get a pharmacy appointment, you’re probably best off asking their regular pediatrician. If they don’t offer it themselves, they may be able to recommend a local place that does. Your city, county, or state health department may also have information on pop-up clinics and other places that can offer the vaccine. The CDC announced that shipments of the vaccines will be sent to “pediatric practices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, local health departments, clinics, and other locations.”
Vaccines.gov has been updated to include search toggles for locations that offer vaccines to kids ages 6 months and up. Some of the search results include the minimum age (for example, a Rite Aid popped up in my results with a note that they can vaccinate ages 3+) while others don’t include it, and you’re advised to call to find out.
The website notes that new locations for young kids are being added every day as clinics receive their first batches of kids’ vaccines, so if you can’t find a place near you right now, it’s worth checking back soon.
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