NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that the city would be ready to begin vaccinating New York City children next week, within hours of final approval.
According to the mayor, kids ages 5 to 11 in New York City will be able to get their first COVID vaccine dose at city-run vaccination sites within 24 hours of approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parents in the city who would prefer their child get vaccinated at a location more familiar or convenient won’t have to wait much longer.
De Blasio said vaccine shots for young children will be available at pediatrician offices, pharmacies and other vaccination sites within 48 hours of CDC approval.
“We’re going to be doing a huge outreach effort and media effort, community outreach…to get parents to bring their kids in to get them vaccinated,” the mayor said at his daily COVID briefing.
De Blasio also said there would be a special hotline for parents to call and speak directly to medical professionals about any concerns over the vaccines for children.
The new detailed plans come days after U.S. health advisers endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for young children.
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously, with one abstention, that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing COVID-19 in that age group outweigh any potential risks. That includes questions about a heart-related side effect that’s been very rare in teens and young adults despite their use of a much higher vaccine dose.
While children are far less likely than older people to get severe COVID-19, ultimately many panelists decided it’s important to give parents the choice to protect their youngsters — especially those at high risk of illness or who live in places where other precautions, like masks in schools, aren’t being used.
De Blasio advised parents across the city to start talking to their family doctors now, if they haven’t already, about plans to get young children vaccinated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.