BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart pharmacies will begin vaccinating youths ages 12-15 with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine beginning Thursday, May 13, the company announced on its corporate blog.
The move follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorizing the vaccine for adolescents this week, up from the previous age limit of 16.
According to the post, written by Dr. Chinni Pulluru, senior director of clinical innovation, transformation and operations at Walmart U.S., here is what the public needs to know about the company’s distribution of the Pfizer vaccine:
- The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective: The Pfizer vaccine has been evaluated based on strict safety and efficacy standards and is proven to be 95% effective at all ages and even better for those age 12-15. For adolescents, that means you have a more than 95% chance of being protected from severe side effects, in the event you contract COVID-19. And for parents, that’s a 95% lower chance your child won’t end up severely ill, in the hospital, or any number of other scenarios that might keep you up at night.
- Vaccines are available via appointment or walk up: Parents and adolescents can use our digital appointment scheduler (walmart.com/COVIDvaccine or samsclub.com/covid) to find an available Pfizer vaccine in your community. Simply filter by vaccine manufacturer — in this case Pfizer — and our tool will show locations administering the vaccine in your neighborhood. You can make an appointment to reserve your spot in advance, or simply walk in, as supply allows.
- Parental consent is often required for minors to get vaccinated: Different states require different parental consent rules, but many require a parent or guardian to be present to authorize the vaccination of a minor. You can visit your state department of health website to learn more about requirements in your area.
- Vaccines are available at no cost, with or without insurance: COVID-19 vaccines are being administered at no cost to eligible Americans, even if they’re uninsured, thanks to the CARES Act. Individuals with insurance can also get the vaccine at no cost through their insurance plan or Medicaid.
- The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, administered three weeks apart: As with adults who have been immunized with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, adolescents will need to receive two doses in order to receive the full protection from the vaccine. Your second appointment will be scheduled at the time of the first dose. Our digital appointment scheduler will send a reminder ahead of the appointment to ensure the second dose is administered on time.
Pulluru, in the post, says she believes in the vaccine so much that her whole family is vaccinated except for her 13-year-old son, who she said she’d be signing up for the shot.
“As a mom, nothing makes me happier than to protect my children from this virus that has affected so many, and we are just beginning to understand the long-term physical effects it might have,” Pulluru said. “I can’t wait to see my kids back to enjoying all the things that mark a childhood and see their friends’ smiles again when the time comes that we are able to safely unmask because of increased vaccination.”