Rhode Island: Vaccine Eligibility Expanded to Children 5 to 11

Providence, RI (STL.NewsGovernor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are announcing that Rhode Island is expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination today to children 5 to 11 years of age.  Last night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended vaccination for children in this age group with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe. Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.  The formulation of the vaccine for younger children was studied and reviewed extensively before federal health officials authorized its use.  It was determined to be 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease in children 5 to 11, and no significant safety issues were identified.

“The approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds is the next big step towards protecting all Rhode Islanders from COVID-19,” said Governor Dan McKee.  “With more than 90% of adult Rhode Islanders at least partially vaccinated, Rhode Island is second in the nation in vaccinations.  Now, it’s time for our youngest Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated too. Together, we’ll be able to vaccinate even more of the Ocean State.”

“The best way to keep your family safe when it comes to COVID-19 is to get everyone who is eligible vaccinated.  That now includes children 5 to 11 years of age.  There will be vaccination opportunities for children 5 to 11 in every community throughout the state,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH.  “This vaccine has been studied and monitored very carefully.  It is safe, and it works. If there is a child who is between 5 and 11 years old in your household, get that child vaccinated as soon as possible.”

When children 5 to 11 can get vaccinated

To date, 900 doses of vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old have arrived in Rhode Island. 9,900 additional doses are expected today.  Thousands more doses are expected in the coming days.  Because much of Rhode Island’s vaccine for this population is still in transit, vaccine may not be available in some of the settings listed below for several days.

Where will children 5 to 11 be able to get vaccinated

Please be certain that the appointment you make is for a slot for a child 5 to 11. Children 5 to 11 cannot receive the vaccine that older children and adults receive.

• Clinics at schools – School districts are partnering with municipalities to offer more than 130 vaccination clinics for first and second doses for children 5 to 11 years old.  These clinics will be held during the evening starting the week of November 7th.  These clinics are open to all children 5 to 11 years old (not just the children who attend the host schools). Unless otherwise noted, vaccine will not be available for older children and adults at school clinics.  A list of clinics is available at https://covid.ri.gov/5to11vaccine.

• The offices of some primary care providers – Many pediatrician and family medicine practices are enrolled as providers of COVID-19 vaccine. Contact your child’s healthcare provider to learn if they are vaccinating younger children.

• The State-run site at Sockanosset Cross Road – Appointments for children 5 to 11 at the Sockanosset Cross Road site in Cranston will start to become available today at 2 p.m. on VaccinateRI.org.  People can also call 844-930-1779 if they need assistance scheduling an appointment.

• Pharmacies – Vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old will be available at many CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Stop and Shop sites.  Availability at these chain pharmacies is expected this weekend.  Visit the websites of these pharmacies for more information.  Appointment slots for independent pharmacies will be listed on VaccinateRI.org.

• Health centers – Many health centers are doing direct outreach to their patients about vaccine availability.

• Community clinics – Additional community clinics for children 5 to 11 will be scheduled in the coming week