Parents of kids under 5 can now schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for their young children at Salt Lake County public health centers, with appointments starting as early as Tuesday.
The appointments are preemptive, pending final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is expected as early as Friday, after a panel of Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisers approved the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for the last remaining age group. The FDA as an agency must next rubber-stamp the vaccines, followed by the CDC.
Parents can schedule these free Salt Lake County appointments online or by calling 385-468-7468. You may also bring children in for COVID-19 vaccines without an appointment, pending CDC approval, but there may be a wait, county health officials advised.
Or, you can reach out to your child’s doctor about vaccine availability and appointments, Utah Department of Health spokesperson Jenny Johnson said.
That’s because UDOH’s immunization program notified area health care providers to place preliminary orders for child vaccines, should they be approved. These providers typically request orders through UDOH, which then orders the vaccines from the federal government.
“Most likely, for this younger age group, parents are going to find the vaccines for the younger children at a doctor’s office,” Johnson said. “The earliest that vaccine could be at places is Monday.”
But with the observed Juneteenth holiday Monday, parents may need to wait. It’s why Salt Lake County vaccine appointments begin Tuesday.
And not all providers may have these vaccines, Johnson said — either because they did not preliminarily order them, or because they want parents to specifically go to pediatricians, should they have any pointed questions about their child’s care.
“Pediatricians and family doctors and your child’s doctor are going to play probably a much larger role in vaccination than they have for other age groups,” Johnson said.
Pfizer’s vaccine consists of three doses and is for children age 6 months through 4 years; Moderna’s vaccine consists of two doses and is for children age 6 months through 5 years.
Individuals can also use vaccines.gov to find a provider that will administer the shot for a specific age group if the CDC gives final authorization on Friday.
“We just, again, encourage [parents] to talk to their child’s doctor if they have questions or concerns,” Johnson said. “And then just generally, a lot of kids are behind on their ‘regular vaccines’ — that’d be their normal childhood vaccinations.”
“So this is a great time to get caught up on all those in addition to COVID,” Johnson continued, “if that’s something that you and your doctor feel is best for your child.”