Health care providers across the state of Minnesota have opened up appointments so kids ages 5-11 can get the COVID-19 vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine for younger kids, and Gov. Tim Walz says more than 1,100 partners and providers across the state will be offering the COVID vaccine to kids ages 5-11.
“Getting our children vaccinated will help our kids be kids again,” Walz said in a statement. “Now that the vaccine is approved for kids ages 5-11, Minnesota is ready to administer these shots quickly, efficiently, and equitably. I encourage families to make a plan to get their child vaccinated and help keep them safe.”
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has a map of providers offering the lower-dose Pfizer vaccine for children, with additional appointments and locations being added in the "coming days."
Below is a list of some of the providers that are offering appointments for kids to get vaccinated (click the link to make an appointment for your child):
- MDH's Vaccine Connector
- Essentia Health: Make an appointment via MyChart or call 833-494-0836
- Sanford Health
- M Health Fairview: Vaccine appointments will be available starting Monday via MyChart or by calling 612-336-2690
- CVS pharmacies
Appointments that have already been made available did go quickly, including at Mall of America where the community vaccination site opened for walk-up appointments for kids 5-11 on Wednesday. Gov. Tim Walz said capacity at the vaccination site should be at 1,500 a day in the coming day.
More than 500,000 kids fall into the 5-11 age group in Minnesota, and their inclusion means that around 94% of the state's more than 5.6 million residents are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Talking to your kids about the vaccine
Essentia Health on Wednesday offered a list of tips to help families make getting vaccinated a "comfortable" experience.
“We always encourage parents to be honest and patient with your child when it comes to getting vaccines, and talk about going to the doctor more often,” said Michelle Finneman, a child life specialist at Essentia.
"Children are smart; they feed off their caregiver’s energy. So if we can begin early on to talk positively, using honest language with our children about going to the doctor and discussing the importance of vaccines with them, as well as meeting their individual needs, it will make for a more positive experience now and for future clinic appointments or hospital stays."
The tips include:
- Talk about getting vaccines.
- Be honest and use developmentally appropriate language when you explain the vaccine to your child. Say "poke" instead of "shot" or "vaccine," such as "getting medicine in your leg through a poke" or "it may feel like a small pinch" and "the medicine may feel warm" instead of "it will burn."
- Validate your child's feelings and emotions about getting vaccinated or their previous experiences. Some kids are nervous or scared and that's OK.
- Play with your kids using medical/doctor toys to help desensitize and familiarize them with different tools they may see during doctors appointments.
- During the appointment, give your child choices to allow them some control in the situation, such as asking if they'd like to watch or play a game on their parent's phone or if they'd like to sit on your lap or by themselves.
- If your child is anxious about getting a shot, practice some breathing exercises beforehand and bring a favorite distraction tool and/or comfort item, like an iPad or a favorite stuffed animal.