San Antonio Metropolitan Health will offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 years old beginning Nov. 10 at the Alamodome mass vaccination site and vaccine pop-up clinics.
On Oct. 29, the Food & Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for this age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed on Nov. 2 with its recommendation. The FDA said the Pfizer vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 to 11 years old, according to the city’s release via information provided by the FDA.
According to a city press release, parents are encouraged to reach out to their pediatricians’ offices as they will be the first essential site for COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11, and they will be made a priority for distribution. Metro Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services are working with pediatricians’ offices to ensure they have the appropriate vaccine allocations and to provide needed technical support.
Local officials said they had eagerly awaited the opportunity for young children to become eligible for a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine. According to Metro Health, there are approximately 332,231 children who are 5 to 11 years old in Bexar County, and this age range makes up 16.7% of the local population.
“As parents, we make decisions that impact our children’s future every day, and I know that vaccines are the most effective way to protect our children from life-threatening illnesses, such as COVID-19. I hope all parents will make the choice to get their child vaccinated,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in the release.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff added that the vaccine can provide an opportunity for safe interactions with family members this holiday season.
“We know this is welcomed news for many parents,” Wolff said. “They have been waiting for the FDA to approve vaccinations for children, and these kids [ages] 5 to 11 will be protected from COVID[-19]. Now they have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays safely with their families, as well as with others who might not be vaccinated.”
The benefits of the Pfizer vaccine for these children outweighs the known and potential risks, FDA and Metro Health officials have said.
“Getting your child vaccinated means they are protected from serious illness or hospitalization,” Metro Health Director Claude Jacob said. “Having your child vaccinated reduces their risk of getting and spreading COVID[-19] while at school, and kids who are vaccinated can hug their grandparents again.”
Nirenberg, Wolff and Jacob took part in the latest city/county pandemic briefing Nov. 2, where Metro Health reported 155 new positive infection cases. As of Nov. 2, Metro Health had recorded 322,027 total cases since the outbreak started. Currently, 200 people are hospitalized locally, with 38 patients on ventilators, according to the Nov. 2 briefing.
Parents and guardians who take their children to get vaccinated at a Metro Health clinic are eligible to receive a $100 H-E-B gift card. Visit https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/, or call 311 and select option eight for a list of vaccine locations. The Alamodome drive-thru clinic is open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays. The Alamodome vaccination site is located in Lot B on South Cherry Street near Montana Street. COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 years old will also be offered at all pharmacies and retail stores.