Two kids pose for a picture after getting their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
11-year-old Addisyn Stohs (left) and six-year-old Kaisen Stohs (right) pose for a picture after getting their first COVID-19 vaccine dose on Nov. 21.

With the Pfizer vaccine getting FDA and CDC approval, clinics may now administer it to children.

By Kaitlynn Johnson and Olivia McCown

The FDA announced approval Oct. 29 for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be available for children, ages 5 to 11. 

The vaccine is available through pediatricians’ offices and local pharmacies. Additionally, the Lancaster County Health Department is partnering with school districts to provide vaccination clinics at school sites. 

“Honestly, since my husband and I got vaccinated, I’ve just been hoping, just waiting for the day that the kids could get vaccinated as well,” Lincoln parent Laci Stohs said.

Stohs is a mother of two children, a 6-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. She said the stress of the pandemic has been particularly hard for her family because her son was just diagnosed with asthma.

“It’s been kind of nerve-racking,” Stohs said. “I always feel like we’re riding a fine line of letting them still do things, live life, and yet wanting to make sure that they’re still protected as much as possible.”

Stohs said many parents she knows have plans to vaccinate their children, and her children are getting their vaccines later this month.

“I would like to get to a point where we can send our kids to school without them having to worry about wearing masks,” Stohs said. “My son is a first grader; he doesn’t know school without masks at this point in time. So, I want him to be able to go to school and see his friends’ faces. And I just don’t think we’re gonna get there if we don’t get more [people] vaccinated.”

The availability of vaccines for children comes just days before a Millard elementary school in Omaha was shut down due to an outbreak. 

Compared to the vaccines for adults, the children’s vaccine contains one-third of the dose and uses a smaller needle. Similar to the adult vaccines, the children will need a second dose three weeks after the first. 

According to Dr. Jennifer Reiser, a pediatrician for Methodist Health System in Omaha, the two main concerns she has heard from parents is the speed at which the vaccine was approved and worries about their children experiencing infertility in the future. 

“I tell parents that I treat my patients like my own children,” Reiser said. “I wouldn’t ever give them or recommend something to them that I wouldn’t give my own children.” 

While the COVID-19 vaccine was approved at a swift rate, Reiser said the speed was due to the funding being available sooner than other vaccines.

Parents can find vaccines for their children near them at www.vaccines.gov/search.