JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 18 million children as young as six months old can get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sulzbacher Village Pediatric Health Center held a vaccination event Saturday to help parents who are having trouble finding appointments for their children.
Organizers said 2,400 doses were available for anyone who was at least six months old to get the shots. Adults could also be vaccinated at the event, but it was mostly geared for children.
The doors were open to children and parents like Rhonda Harris, who said it was an easy decision to get her 3-year-old son a shot.
“I am just interested in keeping him healthy,” Harris said. “There’s too much going on. I work in the healthcare field, so I see it a lot.”
Sulzbacher is one of the few places to get the vaccines almost immediately because it is a part of a federal network of free or low-cost clinics.
It offered both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Saturday.
Eileen Briggs, Sulzbacher’s chief development officer, said there was a need in the community.
“We knew that there was a demand,” Briggs said. “Parents had been asking us when the vaccine was going to be available. ‘When is it going to come out?’”
Caroline and Benjamin Striker brought their 18-month-old twin boys to get vaccinated.
“I have been home with them, and it was just really important for me to know that they were protected when I go back to work,” Caroline said.
“We have been very cautious with them for the past 18 months when they were born,” Benjamin said. “It was time. We want to get them out and socialize with other kids. I think it’s important for them to be vaccinated before we do that.”
The Strikers said this event was the earliest appointment they could get after making several calls around to other facilities throughout the week.
“Finding shots for those six months to the 3-year range was particularly difficult,” Caroline said.
Publix is not offering COVID-19 shots for children younger than 5.
Walgreens offers the vaccine for children 3 years old and older.
CVS has limited appointments for children at least 18 months old.
Florida was the only state that did not pre-order the vaccine after the state’s surgeon general said healthy children should not get the shot.
Physicians and clinics can order the doses themselves but ran into trouble accessing them online early on.
These parents are grateful their chance came Saturday.
“Stepping up to ensure we stay healthy as people,” Harris said.
Pfizer’s vaccine is a three-dose series for children between 6 months and 4 years old.
Moderna’s vaccine is a two-dose series for children between 6 months and 5 years old.