COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out this week to children between the ages of six months and 4 years in the United States.
This means that approximately 20 million infants, toddlers and preschoolers under the age of 5 are now eligible for injections after being authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration last week.
As of Wednesday, 2.7 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines have been delivered nationwide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told ABC News.
Parents wishing to make appointments can visit vaccins.gov, a website jointly operated by the HHS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Boston Children’s Hospital VaccineFinder.
Vaccines.gov launched Tuesday, a few days ahead of schedule. There are currently 1,591 locations on the website with a mix of children’s hospitals, doctor’s offices, community sites, clinics, and pop-ups offering the shots.
To use the tool, people can click the button on the home page that says “Find COVID-19 vaccines.”
On the next page, users enter their zip code and click on the type of vaccine, depending on the age group they wish to receive.
It is important to select the appropriate age group, as the three-dose vaccine of Pfizer for children is three micrograms each, one-tenth the dose offered to adults, while the two-dose vaccine of Moderna is 25 micrograms each, one-tenth of the dose offered to adults. quarter of the adult dose.
dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor, said the number of locations is expected to grow to more than 10,000 in the coming weeks as more locations have their shipments delivered.
“Of course we understand that there is a lot of fear and that parents have waited a long time to get these vaccines,” Brownstein said. “At some point, the supply will exceed the demand. Every parent will have access in the coming days. It will take time to get vaccines, but there will be sufficient supply.”
The Biden administration has said it eventually expects 85% of children under 5 to live within five miles of a potential vaccination site.
“HHS has received orders for approximately 4.2 million doses to date,” the agency told ABC News. “We have initially made 10 million doses of vaccine available to order, and millions more will soon be available, so the supply should not be a barrier to someone getting their young child vaccinated.”
For those who may not have access to the Internet or are not Internet literate, they can call 1-800-232-0233, which offers help scheduling appointments in English, Spanish, and other languages.
Brownstein also recommends that people contact their primary care physician or pediatrician to schedule an appointment or ask where to find appointments.
“It makes perfect sense [to contact them]’, he said. “You have a formal relationship there.”
Getting this youngest age group vaccinated can be challenging if it isn’t convenient to do so.
According to the CDC, only about 30% of American children between the ages of 5 and 11 have been vaccinated, compared to 75% of children over the age of 12.
Adding to the challenge, many young children are unable to get their vaccines from pharmacies because many states do not allow pharmacists or trained pharmacists to vaccinate children under age 3.
Cheyenne Haslett of ABC News contributed to this report.