COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccines for Ages 5-11

Where to Get Vaccinated

Parents and caregivers can make appointments using their health system’s instructions, or pharmacy websites. Other sources for vaccine appointments include the state’s vaccine booking website (myturn.ca.gov) and the City’s website (sf.gov/getvaccinated), which will be updated with local information about appointments as it becomes available across the network of sites in San Francisco.

Families can also visit community pharmacies such as Mission Wellness (folleto en español), CVS or Walgreens, or vaccine clinics at SFUSD schools to get vaccinated. 

Families should make an appointment for pediatric vaccines (ages 5-11). The supply of pediatric vaccines is low this week so most vaccine providers will require an appointment for pediatric vaccines. More vaccines will become available in the upcoming weeks. 

Initial demand for the pediatric vaccines may be high and appointments may be hard to get. After the first few weeks, more vaccines and appointments will become available. If you don’t see an appointment at first, please check back frequently. We appreciate your patience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Nov. 6, 2021

Can I walk in to get a vaccine for my children who are between 5-11 years old?

You have to make an appointment to access pediatric vaccines approved for children ages 5 to 11 provided at select locations by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), health system partners and pharmacies. SFDPH-affiliated clinics and vaccine clinics at SFUSD’s four school sites are initially reserved for children in highly-impacted neighborhoods where access is crucial. 

Why are all the appointments fully booked?

Demand for doses is expected to be high as an estimated 44,000 people as San Francisco children ages 5 to 11 become newly eligible. After the first few weeks, vaccine supplies are expected to increase and more evenly match the demand. There might be a greater supply at larger health care systems such as your primary care providers and pharmacies, since they are directly receiving separate vaccine allocations. Vaccine supply for children ages 5-11 is expected to increase on a weekly basis.

Where can I go to get a pediatric vaccine for my children?

Parents and caregivers can make appointments using their health system’s instructions, or pharmacy websites. Other sources for vaccine appointments include the state’s vaccine booking website (myturn.ca.gov) and the City’s website (sf.gov/getvaccinated), which will be updated with local information about appointments as it becomes available across the network of sites in San Francisco.

When will a vaccine be available for my children?

SFUSD is committed to making COVID-19 vaccines free and accessible to families. Working closely with the SF Department of Public Health, we strive to support families to get their newly eligible children vaccinated over the next several weeks in order to enjoy a safer holiday. 

Many of the larger health systems, such as UCSF and Kaiser, will begin to book appointments on Nov. 5, 2021 and into the following weekend and weeks. Vaccine clinics will scale up across the city, including those at major health systems, which will have the capacity to administer 500 or more doses per day. The four SFUSD school-based sites are expanding to accommodate 250 vaccines per day to support the school community as needed. SFUSD will share additional information about vaccination opportunities that facilitate improved access for families.

Will my children receive an excused absence from school if they get vaccinated during the school day?

Yes. Students will receive an excused absence if they are missing school due to COVID-19 vaccination.

How can I support my children during their vaccination?

Here are some tips and tools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that families can consider adopting to support their child(ren):

  • Bring quiet activities to entertain your child for the required 15 minute observation period after receiving the vaccine. 
  • Pack your child’s favorite toy, book, or blanket to comfort him or her during vaccinations.   
  • Be honest with your child. Explain that shots can pinch or sting, but that it won’t hurt for long.   
  • Engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.   
  • Avoid telling scary stories or making threats about shots.   
  • Remind your child that vaccines can keep him or her healthy – they are a good thing!  
  • Distract and comfort your child by cuddling, singing, or talking softly.   
  • Smile and make eye contact with your child. Let your child know that everything is ok.   
  • Hold your child firmly on your lap, whenever possible while they receive the shot.   

For more information, including how to support children during their vaccine visit, see sf.gov/news/sf-ready-roll-out-covid-19-vaccines-5-11-year-olds.

How is the vaccine for 5-11 year olds different than the ones for 12 years and older?

Children ages 5-11 will receive 10mcg of Pfizer vaccine.  This is 1/3 of the adult dosage.

Children will receive 2 doses of vaccine, 3 weeks apart from each other.

Pediatric vaccines will come in separate vials with all supplies needed, including smaller needles for children.

Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) Town Hall on COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11

Are the vaccines safe and effective for younger children?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 years and older. 

Results show the benefits of getting children vaccinated outweigh the risks of possible side effects, whereby the vaccine is 91% effective for preventing illness in children. There were no cases of severe COVID in clinical trials. Families are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor if they have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth. 

Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) Town Hall on COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11

What are the side effects of the pediatric vaccine?

Most side effects are relatively minor: 

  • Most common were sore arm, tiredness, and headache
  • Other common side effects include: fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, fever or chills, nausea, and muscle aches
  • Severe allergic reactions are rare

Families are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor if they have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth. 

Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) Town Hall on COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11