DALLAS - With the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now approved for children as young as 12, there are several places that will start giving out the shots across North Texas as soon as Thursday.
CVS appointments are filling up with the pharmacy chain announcing it will provide them to adolescents starting Thursday.
State health officials in Texas said vaccinating this age group is another tool to use toward ending the pandemic.
For Keith Mattson, a Collin County father of five, the news of the vaccine eligibility expansion is a weight off his shoulders.
"It’s a relief. It’s a huge relief actually," he said.
Mattson’s 15-year-old already has an appointment to get vaccinated. It’s welcome news since he has two children who deal with bad asthma.
"We struggle with trying to balance social health, or emotional health, with physical health, and it’s been very frustrating," he said. "And I’m very happy they’re at least opening it up to 12 to 15 now."
The FDA approval Monday of the Pfizer COVID vaccine for those 12 to 15 years old was a first signal before it cleared final regulatory approval Wednesday afternoon. Vaccine providers were already gearing up for the final sign-off.
Dallas County will begin vaccinating the new age group Friday and Saturday.
Denton County Public Health says appointments will be available Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
CVS says its Texas pharmacies will start vaccinating those 12 to 15 years old Thursday.
Dawn Moshier is the lead clinical pharmacist for Dougherty’s Pharmacy. Its Campbell Road location in Dallas will host an appointment-only event Saturday.
"Parents want this now. They wanted this yesterday. They’ve been calling me constantly," she said. "I want to get started on this quickly because there are children everywhere. Tons of children. And the weekend is the time they’re not in school and parents can bring them. So I think it’s a good time to start. That way, we’re not all bombarded. And we’ll be doing it every day for appointment after that, but at least this way we can get a bunch of people at once and get moving on this."
Healthcare professionals are also hopeful the expansion of vaccine eligibility will help in the overall battle against the virus.
By last month, those aged 12 to 17 made up more of the new infections than adults over 65, even though that group is largely vaccinated.
"We’ve done so well getting adults vaccinated," Moshier said. "Now, we need all the schools, all the parents, everyone to come together and let’s do this."
Parkland announced it'll start vaccines Thursday for children aged 12 to 15 at Ellis Davis Field House, Dallas College Eastfield campus and at the new Parkland Hospital. No appointment will be necessary.
If you're going elsewhere, be sure to check ahead as places vary on whether they require appointments.
Most of the sites we've heard from require an adult or guardian to be present to give consent.