The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for young children, and with that comes questions from parents about how it works.
The age group between six months and 4 years old is the last major demographic to gain approval for the vaccine, and shots are set to begin immediately, according to a news release from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
“Families across the city have been waiting for this news, and we are thrilled to begin administering this vaccine to children under 5 all across Chicago this week,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in the release.
To help Chicagoans navigate the latest step in the vaccination process, the Sun-Times answered your questions.
Which vaccines were approved? How many doses are they?
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were both approved for use in the youngest age group so far. The Pfizer vaccine is three doses at a tenth of the size of an adult dose, while the Moderna shot is two doses at a quarter of the size of an adult dose, according to the release.
Where can I get the vaccines?
Similarly to the rollout of adult doses, shots will be provided at a variety of locations, including family health care providers and pharmacies. The CDPH is working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Blue Door Neighborhood Center to host vaccination clinics. Other clinics are set to take place at Chicago’s city colleges and the Arturo Velasquez Institute.
Here’s a list of vaccination locations and planned clinics:
- Morgan Park, 11840 S. Marshfield: June 28, July 14, July 23, July 26, August 11, August 20, September 8, October 6
- Pullman, 756 E. 111th St.: June 30, July 13, July 16, July 28, August 4, August 10, August 13, September 1
- South Lawndale, 2551 W. Cermak: July 1, July 29, August 3, August 27, August 31, September 6, September 24, October 4
- Kennedy-King College, 6301 S. Halsted St.: June 25, July 23, August 20
- Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Rd.: July 2, July 30, August 27
- Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave.: July 2, July 30, August 27
- Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.: July 9, August 6, September 3
- Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.: July 9, August 6, September 3
- Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave.: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
- Uptown WIC, 845 W. Wilson Ave.
- Greater Lawn WIC, 4150 W. 55th St.
What else should parents know about the vaccines?
City health officials echoed the refrain from national leaders that the vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19. Chicago’s top doctor, Dr. Alison Arwady, said even though this age group hasn’t seen the same hospitalization and fatality rates as older groups, it’s still important to be vaccinated.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, 442 children aged 0 to 4 years across the U.S. have died from COVID-19,” Arwady said in the release. “As always, vaccination is the best protection against severe and tragic outcomes.”