So Far, There Hasn’t Been a Huge Frenzy to Vaccinate Kids Under 5 Around DC

Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines are now available to children as young as six months.

Photograph via iStock.

Many families with young children have been living in a different version of the pandemic—waiting (and waiting) for Covid vaccines to become available to kids under age 5. That day finally came this week, when lower-dose Moderna and Pfizer shots were offered to children as young as six months. So far, though, it’s hardly been the rush to score a shot that accompanied adult vaccines in 2021.

The DC Department of Health reports that only 681 kids under 5 in the District were vaccinated at the city’s Covid centers on the first day the vaccine became available, and 449 the following day. Montgomery County says it did 262 shots at its clinics yesterday. In Arlington, the number started at 87, though a county spokesperson says their clinic is fully booked with appointments for Friday and Saturday (192 each day). Vaccines are also available at local pharmacies and from various health care providers, which are not included in those counts.

Montgomery County’s initial allocation of vaccines for the age group was 1600 doses—it expects to use those up by the end of the weekend. DC has walk-in Covid Centers in all eight wards. Each city facility received an initial shipment of 150 doses of Pfizer and 150 of Moderna, and will get 60 doses of Pfizer and 140 of Moderna in the following days. Of the shots DC has reported giving out so far, 571 were Moderna and 110 were Pfizer. Moderna requires two shots four weeks apart, while Pfizer is three (the first two are administered three weeks apart, and the third dose follows eight weeks later). The early preference for Moderna may be due to parenting gurus like Emily Oster, who says Moderna offers more protection quickly, though Pfizer has more limited side effects. (Oster digs into the data here.)

Meanwhile, Arlington County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County all have clinics offering vaccinations by appointment only to kiddos under 5. In Alexandria, appointments are “strongly encouraged,” while Fairfax vaccination clinics don’t require one. Across the board, parents are also encouraged to check with their pediatrician or seek out pharmacies offering vaccines (when we checked this morning, there were plenty of open appointments at CVS pharmacies around the region).

We’ll update this post as information from other jurisdictions becomes available.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.