Houston Health Department begins administering pediatric coronavirus vaccines

A nurse at Nueva Casa De Amigos in Houston administers a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to a child on Nov. 5. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
A nurse at Nueva Casa De Amigos in Houston administers a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to a child on Nov. 5. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

A nurse at Nueva Casa De Amigos in Houston administers a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to a child on Nov. 5. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Houston Health Department began offering free coronavirus vaccines to children ages 5-11 on Nov. 5 at vaccination sites across the city.

The move came three days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the go-ahead for the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children in that age group. The CDC approval was based on an evaluation of clinical trial data by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that found the Pfizer vaccine was safe and effective for those children.

“This is another huge milestone in the fight to save more lives from this deadly virus and overcome the pandemic,” said Dr. David Persse, Houston's chief medical officer, in a statement. “While children generally recover from COVID-19, some get sick enough to require hospitalization and suffer long-term health consequences. By reducing COVID-19 cases among children, there will be fewer disruptions to in-person learning and increased protection for the community.”

Data show the vaccine is over 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5-11, according to a Nov. 4 news release from the city of Houston. Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is one-third the dose as the adult dosage. They are administered in two shots that must be at least three weeks apart, according to the release.

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, children may have side effects such as a sore arm, headache and fatigue, officials said.


One site providing pediatric vaccines on Nov. 5 was Nueva Casa De Amigos on Main Street in Houston, where parents were bringing their children throughout the morning. Mother Roselynn Ruth, who works with the city's health department, brought her six-year-old in to be vaccinated. She said doing so brought a sense of relief.

"I get emails every day from his school about somebody being positive," she said. "I would just really be devastated if we had to have him be hospitalized."

Appointments can be scheduled at www.houstonhealth.org or by calling 832-393-4220. However, appointments are not required at city sites.

A list of HHD vaccination sites—health centers, multiservice centers and pop-up sites, which can include schools—can be found here.

The sites do not require insurance, according to the Nov. 4 release, and children cannot be vaccinated without parent consent. In the coming days, officials said they expect vaccines to be rolled out to pediatric healthcare providers, pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

As of Nov. 7, 64.6% of Harris County residents received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while 56.2% had been fully vaccinated. With case counts declining, Harris County downgraded its coronavirus threat level on Nov. 3 to orange.


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