Triangle pharmacies give out dozens of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines on 1st day of rollout

Coronavirus

RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – Following FDA and CDC approval, nearly half a million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids are being delivered to providers across North Carolina.

Wednesday, dozens of families showed up at pharmacies to be among the first in line for the shots.

“We’ve been at home, isolated through this pandemic because we’re immunocompromised,” one parent said. “So it means a lot to us to take the first step to getting out again.”

The pediatric dose is one-third of what’s given to adults. It comes in different colored packaging and has a smaller needle.

Tony Gurley, Glenwood South Pharmacy manager said they received 600 pediatric shots.

“The local pharmacy is the best and easiest access to those vaccines,” Gurley said. “We prepare it separately. It’s a different-colored top to the vial. It’s a different dose for the children versus the adults.

The state health department director, Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, said the rollout for kids has been faster than adults after FDA and CDC approval.

“We have more experience. We have a lot more vaccine providers. We have a lot more supply,” Tilson said. “We have all been through this, so the logistic pieces have actually been fairly easy this time around.”

Parent Courtney Byler said although she was nervous, she’s a health care provider herself and has been waiting to get her children vaccinated.

She said she understands other parents who are more hesitant.

“I felt like I needed to do what’s right, which I think is important for parents,” Byler said. “My choice is not the right choice for other parents, but for our family, we chose to do this.”

Melissa Illig, White Oak Pharmacy owner, said although it has been a busy first day, she doesn’t expect to run out of her 300 doses before the next shipment of 300 arrives.

“It’s been busy, the phone has been ringing non-stop. Everybody has lots of questions,” Illig said. “They keep calling and saying, ‘Do I need to come today, right now? Will you have some more on Friday and Saturday?’ And we anticipate that we will.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website has a vaccine locator tool with hundreds of sites statewide that are currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11.

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