Health officials in New York City are preparing to distribute vaccines to children under the age of 5 beginning June 22, according to a new plan announced Friday by Mayor Eric Adams.
The plan, which relies on federal action on Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for very young children, will rely on pediatric offices and 10 city vaccine hubs to provide the vaccine.
“I know how long parents and carers of our little ones have been waiting for for their youngest to have access to a Covid-19 vaccine, and when that moment comes, I want them to know we will be ready,” he said. . Adams said in a statement.
Beginning June 21, parents can use the city’s “Vaccine Finder” website to book an appointment at various types of locations. Clinics that have served children ages 5 and older will switch to vaccinate younger children, the mayor’s office said. Ten vaccine hubs, including locations in Times Square, the Queens Center Mall and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, will offer the Moderna vaccine for young children. The Pfizer vaccine will also be available in other locations.
Moderna’s two-dose vaccine is for children 6 months through 5 years of age, while Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine is for children 6 months through 4 years of age.
Health officials encouraged parents to contact their child’s doctor to ask if they would like to receive the vaccines. The city’s health department has conducted “educational outreach” to pediatric practices, saying some families might feel more comfortable getting the vaccine from a trusted supplier.
The mayor’s plan is subject to federal approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose advisory panel meets Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for very young children.
According to city data, more than 88 percent of adults in New York City are fully vaccinated, but only about 60 percent of children ages 5 to 17 are fully vaccinated. Childhood vaccination coverage is highest in Manhattan — about 92 percent of children have received one dose — and lowest in Staten Island, where only 54 percent of children have received one dose.
The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, said in a statement that the vaccines for children under 5 were safe and protected against the virus and serious complications.
“As a city doctor and father of a 3-year-old, I have faith in this vaccine and can’t wait to get my child vaccinated,” he said.