On Tuesday, federal regulators approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for children for emergency use, meaning millions of kids around the country are now eligible to get a shot.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued final emergency approval for a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine in kids aged between 5 and 11. The Pfizer shot is also approved for emergency use for adolescents aged 12 to 15 and is fully approved for everyone aged 16 and up.
So, how do parents go about getting their children vaccinated?
Contact your pediatrician
It's always a good idea to contact your family care doctor or pediatrician before getting your child vaccinated — and it's likely that those doctors will soon have access to the vaccines themselves.
Last month, the White House said that it was focusing its distribution efforts on kids' vaccines by providing doses to local health networks and doctor's offices. On Monday, COVID-19 response team coordinator Jeff Zients said that millions of doses had already been shipped and would arrive soon.
Check with your pharmacy
The White House says doses are also being sent to thousands of local pharmacies across the country. In October, the White House said that upon approval, 15 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine for children would be made available at more than 25,000 locations across the country.
What if the vaccine isn't available in my area?
There is a chance that shipments of the Pfizer vaccine for children have not arrived in some parts of the country.
On Monday, Zients said that doses were shipped from Pfizer's production facility after the Food and Drug Administration issued approval last week. But with supply chain issues still squeezing the economy, the doses may still be on the way.
The New York Times points out that vaccine rollout for kids aged 5 to 11 may be a bit slower than it was for adolescents. That's because the vaccine for children uses a different formula. When regulators approved the jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds, physicians were able to use the adult doses that they already had on hand.
If the vaccine isn't available in a given area, be patient — the White House assures it has ordered enough doses to vaccinate all 23 million children aged between 5 and 11 in the U.S.