Nashville is preparing to give COVID vaccinations to children as young as 12 years old. Federal authorities may authorize use of the Pfizer shots for adolescents next week.
Nashville has plenty of Pfizer vaccine on hand to accommodate the younger age group. The question is how best to get shots to them since most pediatricians won’t be offering it. Dr. Gill Wright, the city’s medical director, says the health department is planning special, youth-focused, weekend events.
“We’ve looked at school-based vaccinations. We did do those with swine flu, and that’s a possibility to do that again,” he says. “It’s just that we’re right at the end of the school year.”
Even for those who might get vaccinated next week, school would be out for summer by the time they need a second dose.
Wright says the COVID vaccine also complicates other childhood shots that many kids need during the summer. Right now, they’re not supposed to have any other vaccinations two weeks before or two weeks after either dose of the Pfizer vaccine, meaning they couldn’t get any other shots for roughly eight weeks.
As soon as the Food and Drug Administration grants emergency-use authorization — which is expected Wednesday — children 12 and older can start going to the existing vaccination events.
The city’s primary site is becoming the old Kmart parking lot on Murfreesboro Road. Health officials say the drive-thru site is already doing more vaccinations than the Music City Center, which is winding down.