Retailers to begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations for children

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart and Sam’s Club are among the several retailers that will soon start providing COVID-19 vaccinations for 5-to-11-year-olds.

Four retail chains are preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to 5-to-11-year-olds.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. As with adults and adolescents who have been immunized with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, children will need to receive two doses, three weeks apart, to be fully vaccinated. 

Following is a look at how Walmart and Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Meijer are getting ready to administer COVID-19 vaccine shots to children in this age group.

Walmart and Sam’s Club
Walmart and Sam’s Club will administer the Pfizer vaccine to eligible children ages 5 to 11 in more than 5,100 pharmacies nationwide starting later this week as supply allows. Parents and guardians can use Walmart’s digital appointment scheduler to find an available Pfizer vaccine. They can filter by age, and the tool will show locations administering the Pfizer vaccine in the local neighborhood.

Parents and guardians can make an appointment to reserve their child’s spot in advance, or walk in, based on availability. 

Walgreens will begin administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 in thousands of stores nationwide beginning Saturday, Nov. 6. Ahead of the first vaccine shipments scheduled to arrive at select pharmacies later this week, parents or legal guardians can schedule appointments starting Wednesday, Nov. 3. Appointments will be available beginning Saturday and can be made online, through the Walgreens app, or by calling 1-800-Walgreens. More appointments will be available in the coming weeks as Walgreens receives additional vaccines.

Rite Aid
Rite Aid is prepared to begin administering doses to children aged 5-11 as soon as the 10 microgram doses are distributed to Rite Aid, which is expected at the end of this week. The first available appointments for age 5-11 doses will be on Saturday, November 6. Those appointments may be booked through the Rite Aid scheduling tool beginning Thursday, Nov. 4.

Meijer is gearing up to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds at all its pharmacies across the Midwest by opening its appointment scheduling system Wednesday, Nov. 3. The retailer will begin administering the first in the Pfizer two-dose series to the latest eligibility group on Nov. 9 by appointment only to start. Eligible patients can text COVID to 75049 to schedule an appointment for their child's first dose of the Pfizer vaccine; the second doses will be scheduled 21 days later. 

According to the FDA and CDC, commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial are similar to what’s been seen in adults and other vaccines recommended for children. That could mean a sore arm at the vaccination site, which was the most commonly reported symptom, tiredness, fever or headaches. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity and occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days.