The San Francisco Department of Public Health has 12,300 doses of the pediatric version of the COVID-19 vaccine and said it is beginning to give the shots to children in neighborhoods hardest-hit by the virus by appointment only starting Thursday.
The pediatric dose, meant for children ages 5-11 who just became eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine starting Wednesday following its approval by federal and regional regulators, will be administered at SFDPH-affiliated sites and at four school sites.
The schools are Malcolm X Academy School in the Bayview District, Balboa High School in the Mission Terrace neighborhood, McCoppin Elementary School in the Richmond District and at Sunset Elementary School in the Sunset District.
There are an estimated 44,000 San Francisco children in the 5-11 age range, and city officials said they expect vaccine supplies to increase in the coming weeks. People can check the state's vaccine booking website at myturn.ca.gov and the city's website at sf.gov/getvaccinated for more information about appointments as they become available.
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The city is also encouraging people to check with other health providers such as University of California San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente that are beginning to book appointments on Friday, as well as websites for pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.
Many clinics can also give flu vaccines, and public health officials say it is safe to receive both shots on the same day.
"Our school-aged children will now have the best defense against the virus -- and schools, after school, youth sports programs, and the community will be that much safer," San Francisco director of public health Dr. Grant Colfax said in a statement.
"We highly recommend that all eligible children get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, but parents and caregivers may need to be patient the first week or two as our system accommodates the vaccine expansion," Colfax said. "Please keep checking back for appointments."