The first location in South Florida to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 5 to 11 opened in West Palm Beach Thursday.
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County's mobile clinic is partnering with the Palm Beach County School District to provide the vaccinations, less than 48 hours after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized expanding the vaccines to that age group.
The mobile clinic is offering the pediatric Pfizer vaccine, which is one-third of the dosage formulated for people 12 and older. Officials said it will be stopping at several locations throughout the county.
"Throughout the next several weeks we’re going to be traveling to several elementary schools throughout our district and the goal is to have as many children 5 to 11 vaccinated as possible on a voluntary basis," said school district spokesperson Claudia Shea.
Several people were in line with their kids ready to get the shot when the mobile clinic made its first stop Thursday morning.
Parents who have been counting down the days to vaccinate their kids said they were thankful.
"The rest of the family is vaccinated and she’s already had a close scare at school," said mother Jennifer Schoepp, who went with her 5-year-old daughter. "I don’t want her to have to go through it and catch it, better safe than sorry and got her vaccinated."
“I think it’s very important, we’ve been waiting for this for a while. I think it’s protection for them but also for those around them, teachers and the other kids," said Ron Yonts, who brought his two sons, ages 5 and 8, to be vaccinated. "I was especially anxious at the beginning of the school year when we had the surge and everything like that, it’s gotten much better after they started wearing masks back in school."
The mobile unit doesn't require insurance or appointments, and vaccinations are administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Parents and guardians are required to sign consent forms for anyone under 17.
Doses are also available for anyone over 12 who need their first, second, or booster shot.
In Miami-Dade and Broward, many hospitals and pediatricians have said they're still waiting for doses from state health officials to make them available for younger kids.
For a complete list of the vaccination sites on Palm Beach County School District property, visit the District’s Pfizer Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Sites webpage.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.