Children 4 and under can now get COVID-19 vaccines in Knox County. Here’s what to know

·4 min read

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has finally recommended COVID-19 vaccines for children six months and older and the free doses are widely available.

Knox County Health Department and pharmacies are now offering vaccinations for the youngest set still waiting to be immunized — those 6 months to 4 years old.

To better understand treatment before given to the most vulnerable, vaccines and medications are typically tested on young children last, behind healthy adults and teens. COVID-19 vaccine availability for the youngest children was delayed a few months earlier this year while pharmaceutical companies waited for more data.

Knox County Health Department began offering free three doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to 4 years old earlier this week.

How to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Knox County Health Department

COVID-19 vaccines for kids are available at the department’s main location at 140 Dameron Ave. and West location at 1028 Old Cedar Bluff.

Flora Grace Brown, 1, holds onto her doll as she gets a COVID-19 vaccine at Children's Hospital New Orleans. Children under 5 can now get a series of free COVID-19 vaccine shots. They're available in Knox County.
Flora Grace Brown, 1, holds onto her doll as she gets a COVID-19 vaccine at Children's Hospital New Orleans. Children under 5 can now get a series of free COVID-19 vaccine shots. They're available in Knox County.

To make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at Knox County Health Department's Main location at 140 Dameron Ave., call the Public Information Line at 865-215-5555.

You can make vaccination appointments at the department’s West location at 1028 Old Cedar Bluff by calling 865-215-5950.

The health department recommends parents and caregivers with questions should consult with the child’s pediatrician about any questions or concerns.

Find more information at knoxcounty.org/health.

Pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccines for small children

CVS’s MinuteClinic is providing vaccines for children 18 months and older and Walgreens has begun offering the vaccine for those at least 3 years old.

Supplies are limited at these locations and walk-ins may not be available. Call or check the location's website to schedule an appointment.

A search on vaccines.gov can help find locations and available vaccines for all ages near you.

Timing for COVID-19 vaccines for children

Children receive smaller doses than teens and adults. These doses are based on the child’s age at the time of vaccination, not size or weight.

For this age group of 6 months to 4 years old, the first and second does are separated by three to eight weeks. Then the third dose will be given at least eight weeks after the second shot.

For children with weakened immune systems, the first and second doses are separated by three weeks, and at least eight weeks between the second and third doses.

What are the COVID-19 vaccine side effects for small children?

Children may have some side effects that are mild and temporary including, fever, headache, tiredness, chills, muscle/joint pain, pain at the injections site, and nausea. Side effects are more common to occur after the second dose.

Children should still get vaccinated even after testing positive

The CDC says children who have already had COVID-19 should still receive the vaccination. Evidence shows the vaccination series provides added protection against the virus. A dose can be delayed up to three months after symptoms began or a positive test.

Children are safe to receive other routine vaccinations and preventive care in a single visit when receiving a COVID-19 dose, according to the CDC.

COVID vaccine and booster reminders for everyone else

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older for protection against the virus, which can be deadly for all age groups.

booster shot is recommended five months after completing the vaccine series for those 12 and older who received a Pfizer vaccine, and 18 or older for those who received Moderna.

If you received the single Johnson & Johnson shot, a booster is recommended at least two months after the initial vaccine for those 18 or older.

People 50 or older can receive a second booster shot four or more months after the first booster. Twelve to 49-year-olds with weaker immune systems can also receive a second booster four months after the first one.

Vaccines are free of charge regardless of health insurance status or immigration status. Check health care providers, local pharmacies, and health departments for vaccination options and appointments.

USA TODAY contributed to this report. 

Devarrick Turner: Trending news, from pop culture to politics in East TN
Instagram | Twitter | Email | Unlock premium perks at knoxnews.com/subscribe.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Where children under 5 can get COVID-19 vaccine in Knox County