Michigan kids are getting a shot. Where to find a dose

Hayley Harding
The Detroit News

Detroit — Reed Ackroyd  didn't really care that he was one of the first children in the state to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The 7½ year old (he'll be 8 by the end of the month, he wants you to know) was just ready to get back to his regular life, he said before getting his shot at Detroit's Community Healthy and Social Services Center, or CHASS, on Wednesday.

"I don't really like shots, but getting the vaccine will help me and other people," he said.

Jodie Kilbourn prepares to give a vaccination to Reed Ackroyd, 7, of Royal Oak, who holds the hand of his dad, Joe Hakim, at the CHASS vaccination clinic on Wednesday.

Like millions of children around the country, Reed's life has been disrupted by the pandemic. He's been in virtual school this year, and although his dad, Joe Hakim, said they still go places together, Reed said he was excited to be able to go even more places after his first dose.

When it came to actually getting the vaccination, Reed was a little nervous, but a promise from his dad of V-Bucks, the currency in the online game Fortnite, helped seal the deal.

"It hurt just for a second and then not at all," Reed said, showing off his bandage and his butterscotch sucker.

He and nine other children, ages ranging from 5 to 11, were the first to get pediatric doses from CHASS, which has given about 12,000 vaccinations. They were also among the first in the state after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 shots on Tuesday night for all children ages 5 through 11. Providers around the country started giving their first doses Wednesday morning.

The pediatric dose is just about a third of the amount given to people 12 and older, and the needle is smaller, but much like in adult vaccine trials, the CDC said it was nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19. Side effects during the studies were limited, the most common was a sore arm, but it helped children reduce the risk of severe illness.

Like the adult vaccine, children will get two doses three weeks apart. The vaccine is free.

Being able to protect a new group of people, particularly those who are in school,, helps make everyone safer, said Dr. Felix Valbuena Jr., CEO of CHASS.

"Parents have been asking about this for a while, and I'm excited we can start giving it," he said. "People are focused on just their city or state or region or country, but this is a global problem. Being able to cut down on this risk is a huge benefit."

On Wednesday, health leaders across the state encouraged parents to vaccinate their children. There are about 825,000 children in the newly approved age group in Michigan, officials said, about 8.2% of the state's total population.

Pediatrician Matthew Hornik, president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said more than 450 children under the age of 12 become infected each day. He said COVID-19 is now the sixth leading cause of death in children.

Jodie Kilbourn gives a COVID-19 vaccination to Aniela Guzman, 9, of Oak Park at CHASS in Detroit on Wednesday.

That's why, for many parents, the approval of the vaccine for their youngsters has provided a sense of relief. Jessie Urban-Guzman, the youth and legal program director at CHASS, secured the first doses for 9-year-old Aniela and 5-year-old Tomas. She said she was happy to do her part to keep her community safe.

"I'm happy to help protect my kids and keep them in school, and also to protect our family members that are vulnerable," she said. "We have grandparents who have health issues, and this is one thing I can worry less about."

Aniela said she was excited to be the first in her class to get a shot.

"I can also tell everyone it wasn't even that scary," she said. "When I got a flu shot when I was little, I was scared and hid under a table in the corner. I didn't even want to this time."

She said she hoped other kids also got shots quickly. "I would like to tell them all that it's not even a little scary and also that it keeps your family safe," she said.

Where to get a vaccine appointment for children

Many providers urge parents to check in with their pediatricians or local pharmacies. Many pharmacy chains, including CVS and Meijer, are scheduling appointments for vaccines.

Some stores may be getting doses later than others, and a preferred pharmacy may have appointments available later than others. .

Meijer

Visit clinic.meijer.com to make an appointment. Select the "COVID-19 pediatric age 5-11" option. A profile for your child may be required if the parent hasn't gotten a prescription at Meijer in the last two years.

CVS

CVS will start vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11 on Sunday, but appointments can be scheduled now. To schedule, go to cvs.com and click "COVID-19 vaccine, booster and records" near the top of the page.

Walgreens

Appointments for pediatric doses will be available beginning Saturday. Appointments can be scheduled immediately by visiting walgreens.com and clicking the COVID-19 vaccination banner near the top.

Beaumont Health

Registration for a limited number of appointments will begin online early next week, spokesperson Maryanne MacLeod said. Pediatric vaccine clinics will be offered at Beaumont Hospital in Troy on Nov. 12 and Nov. 19, and at the Beaumont Service Center in Southfield on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20.

To schedule an appointment for next week, parents will need a MyBeaumontChart account for their child. Parents can sign up today by visiting mybeaumontchart.com.

Detroit Medical Center

Parents will be able to go to this link to make appointments when they are available. Those with children 12 and older can already use that link.

"The vaccination site is the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Specialty Center across the street from the hospital," spokesman Brian Taylor said.

Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford is finalizing its plans for vaccination at its clinics and facilities.

"In the meantime, we encourage families to get their children vaccinated wherever and whenever is most convenient," spokesperson David Olejarz said.

McLaren Health Care

McLaren is not yet scheduling appointments for those 5 to 11, James Curtis said. Future clinic dates and other patient resources can be found at mclaren.org/main/coronavirus-covid-19.

Michigan Medicine

Appointments will be available for children ages 5 to 11 starting Friday. Schedule an appointment through the MyUofMHealth patient portal at myuofmhealth.org.

Michigan Medicine is planning to offer vaccine clinics at several sites starting Monday.

Oakland County Health Department

Oakland County plans to hold several school-based clinics at districts around the county, representative Bill Mullan said. Parents can see locations to schedule an appointment at oaklandcountyvaccine.com.

The first clinics will be on Monday after school hours at at Waterford Oaks in  Waterford and at Hazel Park High School in Hazel Park.

"I strongly recommend making an appointment," Mullan said.

Washtenaw County Health Department

Appointments will be posted starting at noon on Friday and can be made at washtenaw.org/covid19vaccine. More appointments will be available Monday.

The department will start giving vaccines on Tuesday. There is no waiting list, but the department asks that if you make an appointment and then find an earlier one, you cancel the later appointment so someone else can use it.

You do not need to live or work in the county to be vaccinated at the clinics. The department's website notes that "everyone is welcome, including individuals who are not U.S. residents."

Wayne County Health Department

The department has ordered more than 44,000 pediatric doses of the vaccine and has about 3,000 doses, department representative Tiffani Jackson said. The first doses will go into arms on Thursday.

The department is working with schools and providers, and is in the process of contacting schools to host on-site vaccination clinics. Jackson encouraged parents to check with their pediatrician's office or to talk to the health department for guidance at (866) 610-3885 or at waynecounty.com/covid19/vaccination.aspx.

hharding@detroitnews.com

@Hayley__Harding