FORT WORTH, Texas — Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect Dallas County's plan to administer doses to only a small group of select 5-11-year-olds (who have already been chosen by the county).
The nation is anticipating the approval of the use of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11, and places in North Texas are already putting plans in motion to receive and distribute the doses.
On Tuesday, a panel of advisors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to recommend Pfizer's COVID vaccine for the age group. The Food and Drug Administration already has OK’d the kid-size doses — just a third of the amount given to teens and adults — as safe and effective.
If the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, signs off as expected, it will mark the first opportunity for Americans under 12 to get the powerful protection of any COVID-19 vaccine.
Here's what we know so far about when those doses will be available in Dallas-Fort Worth.
During Tuesday’s Tarrant County Commissioners’ meeting, Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said the county is expecting to receive 60,000 doses of the vaccine over the next week or so. This initial shipment is expected to come in waves.
Those 60,000 doses are being split between the public health department, pharmacies, and pediatricians’ offices.
There are 204,000 kids, ages 5 to 11, in Tarrant County, according to Taneja. The county is expecting to get more vaccine moving forward.
The county has launched a vaccine finder. TCPH said they will update it with locations they know are supposed to get the vaccine. Parents are encouraged to call and double check that the location has received their shipment and is ready to offer the shots.
Tarrant County COVID hotline: 817-248-6299
Judge Glen Whitley told WFAA he has another call with area school districts Wednesday. They’re still working to come up with a plan that’s most convenient for parents.
Meanwhile, Cook Children’s in Fort Worth said it received its shipment of kid vaccines Tuesday morning. The health care system said it received enough doses to vaccinate more than 3,000 children.
Parents should not call their pediatrician to make an appointment, Cook Children’s said.
"Cook Children's patients’ families will be contacted directly via text or email," the health care system said in a statement. “There is no need for families to call their pediatricians to make appointments. All scheduling will occur through their MyCookChildren's account and details, including the schedule for the vaccination clinics, will be posted on CookChildrens.org.”
Dallas County also received their shipment of vaccines for kids 5-11 Tuesday, Nov. 2. WFAA expects to learn more details about the county’s rollout plan during an 11 a.m. press conference on Wednesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, a county spokesperson incorrectly told WFAA the county had plans to administer 3,000 doses starting at noon Wednesday at the main Dallas County Health and Human Services building on Stemmons. WFAA has learned that only a small group of select 5-11-year-olds (who have already been chosen by the county) will be receiving their shots during Wednesday’s press conference, which is at 11 a.m.
County officials encouraged parents to register their kids online beforehand, but they said they will also allow for on-site registration. The vaccinations are reserved for Dallas County residents, but DCHHS said they would not turn away kids if they had the doses available.
Judge Clay Jenkins told WFAA plans are also in the works to offer the shots to this age group at Fair Park.
“At Fair Park, we're going to keep a presence there now that the (State Fair of Texas) is closed," Jenkins said. "We’ll have all types of vaccines. We'll have your pediatric vaccine, your booster, or your first or second shot."
In addition, the county is working with schools to make these shots most convenient for parents.
“There's an opportunity, for instance, for schools to get permission slips from parents, bring the children to us," Jenkins said. "There's an opportunity for schools to get vaccine and vaccinate with their school nurses."
Anyone can find a vaccine near them at www.vaccines.gov.