- After being made eligible by the CDC on Tuesday, CVS and Walgreens now accept appointments for COVID vaccinations for children ages 5-11 years old.
- The appointment process will start Saturday at CVS/Walgreens. Rite Aid should follow the example of CVS and Walgreens.
- Experts in health say children have a higher risk of developing COVID-19 or spreading it. However, they are more likely to be diagnosed and die than people older.
The major drug store chains – widely expected to play a crucial role in administering COVID-19 vaccines to children – are poised to begin inoculating kids within days.
CVS, Walgreens and Walgreens were the biggest chains in the nation on Wednesday morning. After being declared eligible by CDC officials Tuesday, they will now be accepting COVID appointments for children ages 5-11. The eligibility criteria for children 12 years and older was already in place.
Walgreens appointments will be accepted starting Saturday, and CVS appointment slots can only be taken Sunday. Rite Aid is the third-largest chain. It will accept appointments beginning on Thursday, with slots opening Saturday.
Experts in health say children have a higher risk of developing COVID-19 or spreading it. However, they are more likely to be diagnosed and die than people older.
Walgreens stated in a statement that “As families gather to celebrate the holidays and prepare for travel, COVID-19 variants are continuing to emerge. Individuals, including children, are at high risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, and experiencing more severe symptoms.”
►Pharmacy worker shortages:More drug shops refuse to sell flu shot for walk-ins
►Butterball CEO: It may prove difficult to locate smaller Thanksgiving turkeys this year
The major chains recommend that parents make appointments to see their children, who have been made eligible for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
CVS customers have the option to schedule appointments using both CVS.com and the CVS app.
Walgreens customers can do so at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, through the Walgreens app or by calling 1-800-Walgreens.
For eligibility, parents must provide the birth date for their children. To receive the shot, a guardian or parent will need to also be present.
Children can get a COVID and flu shot at the same time as adults.
“Because the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group, patients are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment online at CVS.com or through the CVS App to ensure availability,” CVS spokesperson Joe Goode said in an email.
After the patient’s birthdate is given, the scheduling tool will show appointments only at CVS Pharmacy locations where the Pfizer BioNTech Pediatric vaccine has been administered.
Rebekah Pajak, spokesperson for Walgreens, stated in an email “an appointment was highly encouraged”.
According to the CDC, more than one third of all COVID shots have been administered by pharmacies since inoculation began just over a year ago. They have struggled to meet the growing demand for COVID shots, COVID test and COVID vaccines in recent months. USA TODAY last week reported that certain pharmacies refuse to give flu shots to walk-in patients due workers shortages.
Walgreens has activity sheets and stickers for children during the recommended period of 15 minutes after the COVID shot. A 5-by-7 free photo of the vaccination will be available for them to download.
Tootsie Roll Industries provided Tootsie Pops as a donation to Walgreens children.
Follow Nathan Bomey (USA TODAY reporter) on Twitter @NathanBomey and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter here for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.