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Here's what local health departments are saying about COVID vax for kids

Anne Arundel County Health Department

Now that the CDC has approved the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11 health departments throughout Maryland are setting in motion plans to get that vaccine into young arms.

Here’s what we know so far about local plans.

Governor Larry Hogan announced at a late afternoon news conference Wednesday the state will get an initial supply of 180,000 doses for more than 500,000 eligible children. He said health officials are planning the same decentralized distribution operation they used for adults, focusing on pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

Baltimore City leaders announced Wednesday afternoon that elementary school children will be able to receive the pediatric vaccine at school-based vaccination clinics, starting next week.

Officials said pediatric vaccines will also be available through mobile health clinics focused on neighborhoods with low vaccination rates. Children and caregivers who are mobility limited and need to get vaccinated at home may do so through the city’s homebound vaccination program. Pharmacies and doctors’ offices may also have the vaccine available.

Clinic sites offering pediatric vaccinations will be listed on the city’s website and on social media. Baltimoreans can also call the city’s COVID Call Center line to find a clinic accepting walk-ins or to make an appointment at (443) 984-8650.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a news conference Wednesday morning he expects to begin vaccinating children in county clinics Friday.

He said they have about 4,500 first doses in hand and a similar number going to pediatric offices throughout the county, where there are some 65,000 children eligible for the vaccine.

The county will open clinics from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Olszewski called it a three-pronged approach, partnering with pediatric offices, the county sites and school clinics. And as in other counties, the vaccine will be available by appointment only to start because of the high demand and limited supply.

Appointments can be made at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/vaccine or by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 410-887-3816.

Anne Arundel County’s health officer, Dr. Nilesh Kalayanaraman, said more than 10 pediatric practices and 30 pharmacies in his county will get their first vaccine doses in the next few days and that the county will list those pharmacies on its web site but leave it to the pediatricians to contact their patients.

Anne Arundel will release the first two batches of appointments on its web siteat 7 p.m. Wednesday and noon Thursday. The first vaccination site will open Friday at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold.

Additional sites at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis, Bay Meadow in Glen Burnie and the Lula Scott Community Center in Shady Side will open the week of Nov. 8.

The county also is partnering with the Anne Arundel Public Schools to make vaccines available at 24 elementary schools and will release those registration links with the school system.

Howard County’s health officer, Dr. Maura Rossman, said in a letter to county residents posted on her department’s Facebook page that they would begin administering vaccines Friday as well, but, as in Anne Arundel, only by appointment because of a limited supply.

She said there are about 33,000 children eligible in her county, but she expects to receive only about 9,300 doses initially divided among 15 providers, including the county.

Parents or guardians should check with their children’s health provider to see if they will be providing vaccines, Rossman wrote.

She said the county will operate vaccination clinics from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Howard Community College. Information on the online registration process for the clinics will be available on thehealth department’s website after 5 p.m. Thursday.

Rossman wrote that although demand will outstrip supply in the beginning, the vaccine will be more available and easily accessible “once supply patterns are established.”

Harford County’s health department will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the health department building on Woodbridge Station Way in Edgewood and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 at Patterson Mill Middle/High School on Patterson Mill Road in Bel Air.

Second doses will be available at the health department building from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and at the school site from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. December 4.

Parents must register in advance for both sites. Register for the health department building at https://www.marylandvax.org/appointment/en/reg/3991650042 and for the school site at https://www.marylandvax.org/appointment/en/reg/2635493109.

Health officials say children must be accompanied by the parent or guardian that provided consent on the online form and the adult must have a photo ID. No adults will be vaccinated at those clinics. For more information go to www.harfordcountyhealth.com.

This post has been updated.