FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Everyone six months and older is now able to get the COVID vaccine, but many parents are running into confusing timelines as to when they can actually get their kids vaccinated.
If you’re like many frustrated parents in our area looking to get your kid under five vaccinated, then you’re being added to waitlists or having to schedule appointments far out in advance while your pediatrician waits to get their supply of vaccines in-house. Although the Arkansas Department of Health said there isn’t a hold on on their end.
Moms like Jackie Avery have been anxiously waiting to get their kids under five the COVID vaccine.
“I’ve been checking daily and just waiting to see when we were going to be able to get it in our area,” said Avery.
Avery wants to start the vaccination process for her kids as soon as possible, but that’s tough to do with the inventory of local clinics. Kids under five will receive two doses of the Moderna vaccine, while Pfizer is a three-dose vaccine.
Doctor Gary Berner, the Chief Medical Officer for Community Clinic in Northwest Arkansas said the timline for clinics to administer the shot could be prolonged by logistics and training.
“It’s just going to be a matter of getting it shipped out and then letting clinics get ready for it,” said Dr. Berner.
Some clinics in the area aren’t ready to give out the shot until the beginning of July, which is not soon enough for parents like Avery. Although Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, the Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, said the nine vaccine distribution hubs across the state have the vaccines ready for pick up or delivery.
“I encourage people to call ahead and make an appointment or learn how that particular local health unit is making their arrangement,” said Dr. Dillaha.
Dr. Dillaha said this distribution process is no different than what they’ve done with other age groups. Distribution hubs are places that are able to store the vaccine at the appropriate temperatures.
Once the vaccines are given to a clinic from a hub, they can then stay in a clinic’s fridge for 10 days.
“They can get vaccine from the hub to replenish what they use on a regular basis and that makes better, more efficient use of the vaccine,” said Dr. Dillaha.
Dr. Dillaha said they don’t expect any hubs to run out of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Another thing to keep in mind is kids under three cannot be vaccinated by a pharmacist. Instead, you need to go to a pediatrician or the Department of Health.
Dr. Dillaha said vaccines come at no cost to the families and you can to check in with your county’s health department and make an appointment for your child.