COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even before it was official, thousands of pediatric doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID vaccine arrived in central Ohio.
Tuesday morning, Nationwide Children's Hospital got 1,800 doses of the 3,000 it requested and Columbus Public Health got 600.
So if you’re a parent wanting to schedule your child or children where can you go and how soon?
You'll want to check with your pediatrician's office or local pharmacy first to see what they are able to do.
Providers offering the vaccine will be listed on the ODH website.
The state's health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff called Tuesday a day that many children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and others have long awaited for.
“The authorization of this COVID-19 vaccine for younger Ohioans is yet another crucial turning point in this pandemic, allowing us to better protect young children from severe complications from COVID-19. This deadly virus has killed more than 24,000 Ohioans, and has caused nearly 206,000 pediatric infections among those ages 17 and younger," Dr. Vanderhoff.
Some county health departments will be providing the shot at clinics they already host.
According to Columbus Public Health once they received guidance from the state they will begin offering the 5-11 vaccine at all of its community clinics and at the Columbus Public Health COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
In Union County, the health department there says it plans to begin distribution for this age group Nov. 8. You can start scheduling for that Nov. 4 by going to www.uchdclinic.org or by calling (937) 642-2053.
In Fairfield County, 300 doses were ordered and they'll be available at existing Monday through Friday clinics.
Union County ordered 600 doses and received those today.
In Licking County, the health department ordered 3,000 pediatric doses.
“We're working hard with our schools right now to try to get clinic scheduled out in this the districts so that parents will have to drive here to our office, we want to try to eliminate any transportation barrier. So we'll try to get out at least into one clinic in each district,” said Licking County Health Commissioner Chad Brown.
A member of the White House COVID response team tells 10TV the first shots could be administered as early as this week.
“This is a complex logistical operations. We know a lot of the vaccines are already making it to the providers offices. So we do expect to have some vaccinations to happen later this week. But really the program will be full speed running starting the week of November 8th,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, vaccinations coordinator with the White House COVID response team.
The state said while children aren't as likely to get severely sick from COVID-19 as adults, it has happened. As of Nov. 1, more than 2,000 Ohio children under 18 had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 15 had died.
Fairfield County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel said the upcoming holiday season may play a role in the urgency for families wanting to get children vaccinated.
“If they're thinking about trying to make sure that kids are fully protected by the time we get to Christmas, probably want to get that vaccine by November 20. For the first dose. Anything will help that if you really want to be really sure that would be the best timeline,” he explained.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for 5-11 year-olds is one-third of the dose given to the older age groups and it is two shots administered three weeks apart.
There are about 997,000 Ohioans ages 5 to 11 years old, bringing the total number of Ohioans eligible to be vaccinated in the state based on age to nearly 11 million people —or 94% of the state's population.