BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ — Families in Burlington County will be able to get their 5- to 11-year-olds vaccinated against COVID-19 at an upcoming special three-day clinic, the county announced Wednesday morning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. Read more here: NJ Ready As CDC Approves Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids 5-11
The Burlington County Children's Clinic will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Burlington County Human Services Building, 795 Woodlane Road in Westampton.
It will be open solely to children between 5 and 11 years-old, who will be receiving a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine, county officials said.
Thursday's clinic will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday's clinic will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday's clinic will be from 8 a.m. to noon.
Appointments are required and a parent or guardian must accompany their child to provide consent. Appointments can be made at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5-11COVIDVaccine.
Anyone who enters the Human Services Building must wear a mask or appropriate face coverings and should enter the building through the side entrance. Signs will be posted to direct visitors to the appropriate entrance.
Children receiving their first dose of Pfizer vaccine at the clinic will be scheduled for a second-dose the week after Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the CDC, endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendation that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.
That now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible.
"This children's vaccine has been vigorously tested and found to be both safe and effective protection against the severe outcomes of COVID-19," Burlington County Health Director Dr. Herb Conaway said. "Many parents have been anxiously awaiting the vaccine's approval for our young children, so we're pleased to be able to launch a special clinic right away. We know getting our younger children vaccinated will help protect them and all of us from the virus and bring us closer to ending the pandemic."
The Burlington County Health Department is actively working with state officials and area health care providers to schedule additional children's clinics at local school buildings. The clinics will be held after school hours, so parents can accompany their kids.
About two dozen school districts have expressed interest in hosting clinics so far, and the department said it expects to announce dates for those additional clinics soon.
The Burlington County Health Department is also working with the New Jersey Department of Health and Virtua Health to open a new Vaccine Mega-Site in Burlington County as a location where young children, teens and adults can receive first and second doses of vaccine or boosters.
A megasite was located at the Moorestown Mall earlier this year, but closed when the state's other five megasites closed over the summer due to lack of demand. Since then, one site has reopened, in Gloucester County.
Until then, parents are advised not to bring their children to the county's fixed vaccine clinics, as they will not be equipped with the low-dose Pfizer vaccine.
"We know there's a lot of demand and that parents have waited a long time for the vaccine to be authorized for their youngest children. However, we're asking everyone to remain patient and not rush to our regular clinics for these shots but rather to go to either one of these special children's clinics that will be staffed and equipped for this population or your regular pediatrician or health care provider," Conaway said.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 279,000 county residents 12 and up have been fully vaccinated so far and more than 45,000 have received either an approved 3rddose or booster shot.
About 35,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 are estimated to be living in Burlington County.
"Burlington County was one of the first counties to offer COVID-19 testing, and we've already helped vaccinate thousands of our residents," Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O'Connell, liaison to the Health Department, said. "These actions coupled with the strong protection the vaccines provide have saved lives and positioned us that much closer to the long-awaited return to normal. We're not there yet, but vaccinating our young children is another important step forward, and I want to thank our Health Department for preparing this clinic so quickly."