DALLAS — Dr. Angela Moemeka is getting the same questions at her son’s ball games, in the grocery store, from friends, strangers, and patient's parents.
“What’s next? When is this going to start? And, will you have it in your office?”
She can’t give concrete answers yet, but one question parents could be asking themselves to decide is, “How fast do I want my child vaccinated?”
Within hours of Wednesday’s decision by a CDC panel to recommend the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 15, vaccine sites that are already distributing the Pfizer shot made plans to expand eligibility.
The Pfizer vaccine will be available beginning Thursday and Friday to anyone 12 years or older in Dallas, Tarrant, and Denton Counties at various clinic locations.
So, if you want to get a shot in your child’s arm as soon as possible, county clinics are likely your best option.
If you prefer a familiar doctor in a familiar office setting, you’ll have to wait.
But pediatricians believe it won’t be long before they are administering shots.
“Our understanding is that it should be within a week or two,” said Dr. Seth Kaplan, a pediatrician with TLC Pediatrics of Frisco and president of the Texas Pediatric Society.
“In my office, we placed our first order [Wednesday] and are hoping to have vaccine next week or the week after,” he said.
In early May, Texas Department of State Health Services sent letters to about 3,000 pediatricians across the state encouraging them to enroll as vaccine providers.
Kaplan said the state has since provided good guidance that has calmed concerns about receiving large batches of doses that independent practices could not possibly administer alone.
“We’re really going to be able to look at our policies and procedures and think about this much in the way that we’ve done influenza clinics in the past,” Kaplan said.
He said if families are ready to get their children immunized, they should take any appointment they can get at a public clinic or a pharmacy.
“Shots in arms is what is important right now,” he said.
Just communicate that with your child’s physician.
Moemeka suggests calling your pediatrician or family doctor so they can look up a medical history to make sure there are no contra-indications.
“Then get the vaccine wherever you can get it,” she said.
“I think most pediatricians are going to say if you can get it before I can get it, go right ahead.”