Demand for vaccines for kids 5 to 11 outstrips supply in MoCo

Heather Curtis
WMAL.com

Appointments to get kids 5 to 11 vaccinated are filling up quickly in Montgomery County. About 30 minutes after the county released its first appointment slots on Wendesday, they were all booked.

“Because vaccine delivery amount will take some time to ramp up, parents are urged to be patient, as there will not be enough supply initially to vaccinate all eligible children immediately,” the county’s acting health director, Dr. James Bridgers, said in a press release.

There are about 100,000 kids who are newly eligible for the shot. The county got 14,000 kid size doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, and doctor’s offices and pharmacies got their own supplies according to Mary Anderson, a spokesperson for the county’s department of health and human services. She told WMAL the number of doses sent to all the providers is expected to increase in the next week or two.

“We don’t think it’s gonna be quite the same as it was when vaccinations first started because earlier in 2021 local health departments were often one of the few games in town, and now the vaccine for children 5 to 11 is being distributed more broadly,” said Anderson.

Starting Friday, the county-operated clinics will expand hours and offer pediatric vaccines on weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m. Kids who go to Montgomery County Public Schools and private schools can get vaccinated at school-based clinics on Saturdays and Sundays.

Right now parents and guardians will need to book appointments to get their kids the jab by going to www.GoVaxMoco.com. The appointments are scheduled through the state’s PrepMod system. Anderson said the site doesn’t tell people when appointments are filled. Instead, it says to try back later or loads slowly. The county’s adding a message to its website to let people know.

“We don’t want parents to, you know, stay online for hours and hours thinking there’s still appointments available,” Anderson said.

According to the CDC, 91% of Montgomery County residents 12 and up are fully vaccinated, making the county one of the most vaccinated in the nation. Anderson said there’s no way to know whether vaccination rates for little ones will be as high.

Copyright 2021 by WMAL.com. All Rights Reserved. (Photo: AP)

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