Sam looks on as public officials tour classrooms at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy while CPS continues its reopening plans in the Lake View neighborhood on March 1, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5-11 could be coming as soon as next week, Chicago’s top doctor said Tuesday.

And unlike during the early days of the adult vaccination campaign — when people compared getting a rare appointment to competing in “The Hunger Games” — there will be enough doses for kids, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said at a Tuesday news conference.

The FDA needs to sign off on the vaccines for kids 5-11, at which point they will start being shipped around the country. Then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must approve them; once that happens, kids can start getting the shots, Arwady said. That could happen as soon as next week, she said.

Chicago expects to receive nearly 100,000 pediatric doses that first week, while there are an estimated 210,448 kids ages 5-11 here, Arwady said.

“This is not going to be ‘The Hunger Games,'” Arwady said.

Kids will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for free. They will not need to be covered by insurance, have an ID or have a doctor’s order. They’ll be able to get their shots at the same time they get other vaccinations.

The city plans to offer the vaccines to families in a variety of ways, distributing doses to doctor’s offices, clinics and more.

Chicago Public Schools will educate kids and families about getting young ones vaccinated, and the district will set up vaccination sites.

The vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at protecting children from COVID-19, Arwady said. The doses used for children are smaller than those for adults, and they’re administered with smaller needles.

Everyone 12 and older is already eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Chicago.

How To Get Your Child Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Chicago’s initial 100,000 pediatric vaccine doses will be spread among more than 125 sites citywide, and more will come in the near future.

Everyone 5 and older who gets vaccinated at a CPS- or health-department-sponsored event is eligible to get a $100 gift card.

Here’s how kids can get vaccinated:

Family doctor/health care provider

Families should first contact their family doctor or pediatrician’s office to get their child vaccinated, Arwady said.

“We would love them to go their regular provider,” Arwady said. “This should really be your first check.”

Chicago Public Schools

The school district plans to set up regional vaccination sites:

  • Theodore Roosevelt High School, 3436 W. Wilson Ave.
  • Michele Clark High School, 5101 W. Harrison St.
  • Richards Career Academy, 5030 S. Bishop St.
  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy, 2100 E. 87th St.

It will also set up mobile vaccination units and school-based health centers.

More information is available online.

Local pharmacies

Pharmacies will offer pediatric vaccinations. They have different registration requirements.

  • Walgreens: Register online or call your local Walgreens or 1-800-WALGREENS (1-800-925-4733).
  • CVS: Register online or call your local CVS or 1-800-679-9691.
  • Mariano’s: Register online.
  • Walmart: Call 833-886-0023, Option 1.
  • Chicago Costco Pharmacies: Register online for an appointment or call a pharmacy directly.

Community and health department events

The city’s health department and other agencies will host vaccination events. Details will be available online.

You can also check the city’s vaccination event calendar online.

At-home vaccinations

The city isn’t offering at-home vaccination appointments to kids in the 5-11 age group for now, but it expects to do so by mid-November, Arwady said. But, in the meantime, the health department will vaccinate eligible children during at-home appointments for other people.

You can make an appointment online or by calling 312-746-4835.

Children’s hospitals

Various children’s hospitals will host vaccine events. Check their websites for more information.

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