Here’s how to get a COVID vaccine for your baby or toddler in New York City

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This story is part of “MISSING THEM”, THE CITY’s collaborative COVID-19 memorial and accountability journalism project. Do you know a child who has lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19? tell us more here.

Some of the youngest New Yorkers were vaccinated against COVID-19 on Wednesday as the vaccine for children under 5 became available for the first time.

By 9am, a line had formed outside the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights – one of 10 new vaccination centers now open in New York – with parents eager to get their babies and toddlers vaccinated. .

“It’s a great relief. Just having peace of mind is a big deal,” said Shehzad Nadeem, after her 2-year-old daughter received her first injection.

He had secured an appointment through the city’s Vaccine Finder at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, as soon as they were available.

“It was a mix of emotions, especially jubilation,” he said. “Everybody’s been through a lot.”

Travis Donia and Stephanie Wai also brought their 19-month-old daughter to get vaccinated. Despite an initially “frustrating” experience waiting for appointments to appear on the city’s vaccine search website on Tuesday evening – a problem called by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine as “unacceptable” – Donia said the experience ended up being okay.

“It’s one of the most important and effective things to keep you and the community safe,” he said.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum offers vaccines for children under five, June 22, 2022.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for all children 6 months and older. But some parents don’t share Nadeem and Donia’s enthusiasm for getting their little ones vaccinated.

One in five parents of children under 5 are eager to get their children vaccinated immediately, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, which tracks public attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines . Four in ten parents said they wanted to “wait and see” before deciding to vaccinate and another four in ten said they were reluctant to have their young children vaccinated.

Despite this hesitation, the mood among city health officials was buoyant Wednesday morning as Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan and Mayor Eric Adams toured the new Times Square Vaccination Center for Children .

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for two and a half years to protect our little ones,” Vasan said. “It’s a great day. It’s a great day for our city. It’s a great day for our country.

Should you have your child under 5 vaccinated?

More than 40,000 New Yorkers have died of COVID-19 since March 2020, according to THE CITY’s COVID-19 tracker.

According to the researchers, children and adults are equally likely to contract COVID-19, although children are less likely to contract serious illness. Since the start of the pandemic, about 1 in 6 children in New York City under the age of 5 have contracted COVID, according to data from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. According to city data, children under the age of 5 have been hospitalized due to COVID at higher rates than children ages 5 to 17.

Ellington, a pediatrician and board-certified neonatologist, said it’s important for young children to be vaccinated against COVID because they are particularly vulnerable.

“Children [younger] more than 5 are the members of our society who are most at risk of infectious diseases because their immune systems are immature,” Ellington said. “What we’ve seen as the pandemic has progressed is that, particularly as vaccination has come in, it’s focused on those who are unvaccinated.”

The COVID vaccine for infants and young children is the same as the version given to adults and older children, except it contains a lower dose. The Pfizer pediatric vaccine is given in three doses and the Moderna pediatric vaccine is given in two doses.

For parents who are still on the fence, Ellington says the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are comparable to routine vaccines, such as the flu shot.

“These vaccines have been fully tested. They were approved by the FDA at this point, and they’ve been given to hundreds of millions of people, in many cases in multiple doses. »

Where can I get my baby or toddler vaccinated?

Children under the age of 5 can receive the COVID-19 vaccine through a pediatrician, a pharmacy or at 10 vaccination centers spread across the five boroughs.

Parents can find appointments for their children using the city’s COVID-19 and flu vaccine search.

Vaccines are free, and the city’s health department says you won’t be charged for a shot, even if you don’t have health insurance. Your insurance company may be charged, but you will not be charged any fees or copayments for the vaccination.

In order to have your child vaccinated, parents or guardians must be present to give consent, according to the health department.

Vaccination centers

Municipal vaccination centers for young children accept appointments or a limited number of walk-in visits. Parents can use the city’s Vax4NYC website to locate a vaccine provider and schedule an appointment. Alternatively, parents can call (877)-VAX-4NYC to schedule an immunization appointment.

All children aged 6 months to 5 years can be vaccinated at the centres. Currently, city-run vaccination centers only provide the Moderna COVID vaccine.

manhattan

  • Times Square (136 West 42nd St.) – Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Uptown Clinic (158 E 115th St.) – Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

queens

  • Queens Mall (58-56 92nd St.) – Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Corona Clinic (34-33 Junction Boulevard) – Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Long Island City (5-17 46th Rd.) – Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bronx

  • Morrisania Clinic (1309 Fulton Ave., 2nd Floor) – Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Staten Island

  • Empire Outlets (55B Richmond Terrace) – Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

brooklyn

  • The Jefferson (1300 Flushing Ave.) – Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Livonia (506 Livonia Ave.) – Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum (145 Brooklyn Ave.) – Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Pediatrician offices

Parents can also have their child vaccinated through their pediatrician, although not all hospitals and pediatricians have yet received enough COVID vaccines for children in this age group. Call your pediatrician’s office ahead of time to ask if they have the pediatric COVID vaccine.

Dr. Marty Ellington Jr., chair of pediatrics at Lenox Hill Hospital, said some families may choose to schedule a vaccine with their children’s primary care physician.

“Families have the opportunity to get advice and reassurance that it’s the right thing from their pediatrician,” he said.

Pharmacies

City pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS, also offer pediatric COVID vaccines although they do not serve infants. CVS Pharmacy locations provide COVID vaccines for children 5 and older, but its MinuteClinic partners can now vaccinate children 18 months and older. Walgreens will begin vaccinating children 3 and older on June 25.

MISSING THEM is supported, in part, by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia Journalism School.

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