Months after COVID-19 vaccines were approved for adults and teens, younger children are now eligible for the shot.
The federal Food and Drug Administration OK'd Pfizer's kid-size vaccine dose — about a third of the amount given to adults and teens — in November, paving the way for about 500,000 more Wisconsin children ages 5 to 11 to be vaccinated.
Below, we've compiled a list of places in that will offer the vaccine for children in Appleton, Oshkosh and the Fox Cities — which we'll update as new clinics emerge — as well as answers to some key questions about the new development.
Where will kids be able to get vaccinated in Appleton and Oshkosh?
To find an appointment, health officials encourage families to start with their pediatrician if they have one. Families can also find appointments at vaccines.gov by entering a ZIP code and choosing Pfizer, the only vaccine currently available for children under 12.
The state health department also offers a multilingual hotline to help residents find appointments: 844-684-1064.
CVS pharmacies in Wisconsin, including in Appleton, Oshkosh and Neenah, are administering the vaccine for children. People can sign up for an appointment now at cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine.
Walgreens locations in the Fox Valley will also offer the vaccine for kids. Sign up for an appointment by visiting walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid/19/landing.
ThedaCare is offering the vaccine at locations in Appleton, Berlin, Neenah, New London, Shawano and Waupaca, as well as some primary care offices. To make an appointment for a child, visit mythedacare.org. (If you do not have an account, you can create a free one.) All children will need to have a guardian present.
Ascension Wisconsin patients can schedule an appointment for their child by contacting their doctor's office directly or calling 844-803-6446 to schedule an appointment.
Pfizer vaccines are offered at the Fox River Mall in its Younkers wing near Rogers & Hollands Jewelers on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registration in advance (online at vaccinate.wi.gov/en-US or by phone at 844-684-1064) is preferred. No ID or insurance required.
The city of Appleton is offering the shot for kids at its vaccine and testing clinic in the former Best Buy building at 2411 S. Kensington Dr. The clinic is open for vaccinations Thursdays 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., and Fridays 7 a.m. to noon.
The regional vaccine tour put together by Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties is now offering the vaccine for kids. Dates and locations include:
Tuesdays at Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. in Oshkosh, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Tuesdays at Fox Crossing Fire Department, 1326 Cold Spring Rd. in Neenah, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesdays at the Calumet County Courthouse, 206 Court St. in Chilton, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays at Shiocton-Bovina Fire Department, W7740 Pine Street in Shiocton, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesdays at Black Creek Fire Department, W5200 County Rd. B in Black Creek, 3 to 6 p.m.
Sunnyview Expo Center will offer the vaccine for kids during Walk-in Wednesdays, 1 to 6 p.m. at 500 E. County Rd. Y in Oshkosh. (No clinic Nov. 24.)
Are these shots different from the shots available to older teens and adults?
The vaccine dose for kids is smaller than for adults — about a 10-microgram dose versus a 30-microgram dose.
Why? Scientists sought to use the lowest dose possible to achieve the desired effect of protecting people against COVID-19, Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer at Children's Wisconsin, told reporters Wednesday. In children's bodies, that turned out to be lower.
Like the adult version, though, children will need to receive two doses of the vaccine, spaced three weeks apart.
How well do the shots work, and what side effects might there be?
In a clinical trial of about 5,000 children ages 5 to 11, Pfizer said their vaccine was more than 90% protective against contracting symptomatic COVID-19.
The trial showed many of the same mild side effects in kids as in adults — a sore arm, chills, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain and low-grade fevers that lasted a day or two. Vaccine makers said the lower dose for kids was also chosen because it reduces side effects.
No children in Pfizer's clinical trial experienced myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that has occurred in rare numbers after people have received the mRNA vaccines. The condition is generally significantly less common in younger children, NPR reported.
Of 877 reports of vaccine-related myocarditis in people under 30, no deaths have been linked to it, according to data presented to the CDC. It's worth noting COVID-19 itself can also cause myocarditis.
Will the other vaccines be available for kids?
Right now, Pfizer's vaccine is the only one OK'd for kids 5 to 11. (It's also authorized for emergency use for kids ages 12 to 15, and fully approved for everyone 16 and older.)
In late October, Moderna announced that its vaccine was safe and effective for kids 6 to 11 after wrapping up a trial with more than 4,500 youth. The company plans to submit data to the FDA "in the near term."
Right now, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for adults.
COVID tends to be milder in kids. Why do they need the vaccine?
It's true that kids have less risk of getting sick from COVID-19 than adults, particularly older ones. But that risk isn't zero.
In Wisconsin, about 48,000 children 9 and younger have been infected with the virus, and 600 have required hospitalization, according to state Department of Health Services data. No young Wisconsinites have died from the virus.
In a news briefing Wednesday, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for communicable diseases at the state health department, told reporters that getting kids vaccinated will protect them from severe disease but also help the whole state work toward herd immunity — the point at which the disease no longer spreads because there aren't enough people for it to infect.
This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Appleton, Oshkosh COVID-19 vaccine sites set for 5- to 11-year-olds