Children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive Pfizer's vaccine at Novant Health, following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's the first COVID vaccine in the U.S. to receive emergency use authorization (EUA) for children under 12.

Appointments for 5- to 11-year-olds can be scheduled in a few ways, though availability may be limited as supply allows. Please check back daily if no appointments are available.

Adolescents age 12 to 15 have been eligible for the COVID vaccine since May, under a previous emergency authorization. To date, Novant Health has administered over 35,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to young adults ages 12 to 17, with nearly 17,000 of those patients now fully vaccinated with two doses.

How do I schedule an appointment?

You do not have to be a Novant Health patient to schedule an appointment at a mass vaccination site. Established patients can also make an appointment at their pediatric or primary care clinic, if it is available there.

The best ways to schedule an appointment include:

  1. MyChart: Anyone can create a MyChart account by visiting MyNovant.org. Legal guardians have primary access to a child’s MyChart account through age 11. To schedule a vaccination, a legal guardian can log in to their own MyChart account and select the child’s user profile. Appointment availability can be accessed under Schedule an Appointment. For children 12 and over, legal guardians may request to have proxy access to a child’s MyChart account, which includes the ability to schedule or modify appointments on behalf of their child.
  2. GetVaccinated.org: Anyone can schedule an appointment online.
  3. Pediatric clinics: Established patients are encouraged to check their pediatric clinic’s website or Facebook page to find out if their clinic is offering the vaccine and find out how to schedule a vaccine.

How will the second dose be scheduled?

The second dose appointment will be scheduled on-site during the first dose appointment.

Will legal guardians need to provide proof of age to verify eligibility?

No. Parents will be asked to attest their child’s age.

Will patients 5 to 11-years-old need a parent or guardian with them?

Yes. North Carolina state law requires written consent from a parent/guardian for a minor to receive a vaccine that has been granted an emergency use authorization and is not fully approved by the FDA. This includes Pfizer's COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

Minors who are 16 or 17 can give their own consent for the vaccine, and written parental consent is not required because the Pfizer vaccine is fully FDA approved for those age 16 and older.

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Is the vaccine safe for children?

Following its clinical trial of more than 2,200 children, Pfizer released data showing its COVID vaccine is safe and effective in kids ages 5 to 11. This age group received 10 micrograms – one-third of the dose for adults and adolescents, who receive 30 micrograms.

At this lower dose, the vaccine produced “mostly minor side effects” and the “same type of strong immune response,” similar to that in older populations at a higher dose, the company said.

As in adults, the vaccine would be given to younger children in two shots, delivered at least three weeks apart. Both doses are necessary to get full immunity.

What about children under 5?

Pfizer is still studying its COVID vaccine in children under 5 years old. A tenth of the adult dose – 3 micrograms – appears “sufficient” so far, experts said.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, the other COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S., are also studying their vaccines in children but have not yet released the findings.

Other common-sense recommendations:

While the best defense against the flu is a vaccination, it isn’t the only defense. The same safety measures that help limit the spread of COVID also work with flu and cold – contagious illnesses that spread mainly spread through respiratory droplets.

  • Wear a mask – especially indoors.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Avoid commonly touched surfaces that could be contaminated.
  • Stay home if you do not feel well.

Get your flu shot

Also recommended is protecting yourself – and your family – from the flu. And the more people who get the flu shot, the more effective it is overall.

Dr. Charles Bregier
Dr. Charles Bregier
Now is the time of year to get vaccinated, said Dr. Charles Bregier, Novant Health medical director of corporate health.

“It's the perfect storm brewing out there. If COVID remains bad and it’s a bad flu season, it could completely overwhelm our nation’s health care system,” Bregier said.

Most children can begin flu vaccinations once they are 6 months old. Not only does it reduce the risk of flu illness and hospitalization for the child, it helps prevent spreading the flu to siblings or babies who are too young to receive it – and other at-risk family members.

And no need to plan your flu shot around the COVID vaccine. They can be safely administered at the same visit, the CDC confirmed.