Early this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that everyone 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the coronavirus.
The pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults and adolescents, but it is one-third of the adult dose. Smaller needles, designed specifically for children, also are used, according to the CDC.
The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is given in two doses, 21 days apart as an injection into the muscle. It can be given with other pediatric vaccines, including the flu shot, according to Marshfield Clinic Health System.
“During clinical trials, children experienced fewer side effects than adolescents or young adults. The most common side effects were a sore arm, mild fatigue and headache,” said Dr. Thomas Boyce, pediatric infectious disease doctor and researcher with Marshfield Children’s Hospital. “Arm swelling, redness and fever are uncommon and occur in less than one in five children. Side effects are usually mild and resolve within one to two days.”
Preliminary data show the Pfizer vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective among children ages 5-11. Clinical trials also show the vaccine is effective against the highly contagious delta variant. A CDC study published in September 2021 found that hospitalization rates were 10 times higher among unvaccinated children than among fully vaccinated kids.
“It’s important to vaccinate kids because although their risk is lower than that of adults, kids are still getting sick and are still dying from COVID-19,” said Dr. Robyn Schertz, system senior physician executive for Aspirus Medical Group North. “So, it’s important to have that option to keep your children safe.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge.
Health care systems and county health departments in central Wisconsin are offering the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 years old during the following clinics. Many local pharmacies also are offering the vaccine; call for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Local health care systems
Marshfield Clinic Health System is scheduling patients for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and offering walk-in clinics. To view the calendar or schedule an appointment, visit marshfieldclinic.org/CovidVaccine. If you don’t have internet access, call 877-998-0880.
Aspirus Health is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 5-11 at vaccination locations throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. The health system recommends a parent or guardian call the Aspirus COVID-19 Call Center at 844-568-0701 or 715-843-1454 to schedule an appointment. Appointments also can be scheduled via the MyAspirus app or patient portal at myaspirus.org.
County health departments
Community COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 in the Center for Business & Industry Building at Northcentral Technical College, 1000 W. Campus Drive in Wausau. Clinic will be closed Dec. 23-25 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. All approved vaccines and booster doses available. For more information, call 844-684-1064 or visit https://vaccinate.wi.gov.
Portage County Health and Human Services, appointments available for children ages 5-11, Ruth Gilfry Center, 817 Whiting Ave. in Stevens Point. Schedule appointments online by clicking here; vaccine is limited and may not be available to walk-ins. For more information, call 715-345-5907.
Adams County Health & Human Services, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, through Dec. 28, at 108 E. North St. in Friendship. For children ages 5-11 only. Appointments are required, click here to register and then enter firstname.lastname@example.org, click "I'm not a robot" and select a clinic date. For more information, call 608-339-4559.
Clark County Health Department, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 at 517 Court St., Room 105, in Neillsville. For children ages 5-11 only. Appointments are required. To sign up, click on the clinic date on this flier.
Taylor County Health Department, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 29, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Medford Fire Department, 844 W. Broadway Ave. in Medford. Walk-in clinic; vaccine will be available on a first-come basis. Complete preregistration material online at vaccinate.wi.gov. For more information, call 715-748-1410.
Juneau County Health Department, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at 200 S. Hickory St. in Mauston. For children ages 5-11 only. To schedule an appointment, call 608-847-9373. The health department also has clinics scheduled at Mauston Schools (Dec. 9 and 10) and Royall Schools (Dec. 14); families should receive letters about the clinics from the school district or contact the school nurse.
Wood County Health Department, 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department, 514 E. Fourth St., Marshfield. This is a drive-thru clinic. Appointments are required, click here to register. For assistance, call 715-421-8911.
Clark County Health Department, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center, W4266 Clark County X in Owen. For children ages 5-11 only. Appointments are required; click here to sign up. For more information, call 715-743-5105.
This list will be updated as additional vaccine clinics are announced.
This article originally appeared on Wausau Daily Herald: COVID-19: Where can I get the pediatric vaccine in central Wisconsin