Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department
COVID-19 vaccines have been available for 5- to 11-year-olds for just a week, and we know that there are many families who are looking for appointments for their children. Here’s what we know about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine supply.
The vaccine supply is limited
The pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine is a different dosage than the version for adults and teens, and the two types are not interchangeable. From a logistics point of view, it is a separate vaccine, and production of the vaccine is just getting started. Similar to when the adult COVID-19 vaccines were first introduced at the end of 2020, the pediatric vaccines will be allocated to each state on a weekly basis. There will also be some doses coming directly to Washington pharmacies through the federal pharmacy partnership.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) divides up the state’s allocation by county. Each week, vaccine providers in the state send in orders for doses. DOH has informed us that they have received orders for more than twice the number of doses that they will actually get next week.
The number of vaccine providers is also limited
In Whatcom County, we have a relatively small number of vaccine providers who are giving the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Not all vaccine providers vaccinate this age group. In addition, very few pediatricians and family doctors in Whatcom County are offering this vaccine.
Some people might wonder about the possibility of a mass vaccination clinic for children. A mass clinic similar to the Community Vaccination Center that was held at the Bellingham Technical College is not an option at this time. We have discussed it with the community partners who staffed the CVC, and our partners do not have the capacity to stand up a similar mass clinic.
Where to get your child vaccinated
- Vaccine appointments will be hard to find at first. Demand for this vaccine will continue to be very high. Every family who wants the vaccine for their child will be able to get it eventually. In the meantime, please keep in mind that there are thousands of Whatcom County families looking for this vaccine. Given the tight supply and the physical capacity of our local providers to administer doses, it will take several weeks or even months to meet this demand.
- Check our list of vaccine providers. As we learn of new vaccine providers serving the 5-11 age group, we will add them to our COVID vaccine page. If you prefer, you can download the list (PDF). We cannot guarantee appointment availability at any of these providers.
- Check our list of vaccine clinics. In addition to locations such as pharmacies that have regular hours, we also keep a list of pop-up clinics on our COVID vaccine page. This list specifies which ages are served at each clinic. Again, we cannot guarantee appointment availability at any of these clinics.
- Watch our vaccine page for new clinic announcements. This week, there will be a very limited number of vaccine appointments at three clinics run by our vaccination partners.
- The registration links will be posted on our COVID vaccine page, whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine, on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m.
- These will not be public PrepMod links so they can’t be found through PrepMod searches, unlike our Nov. 5 clinic.
- Please note: these clinics are run by our mobile vaccination partners, who specialize in outreach in rural areas, not mass vaccination. These are not mass vaccination sites, and very few slots will be available.
- Appointments are required.