Here’s what Detroit parents need to know about getting children ages 5-11 vaccinated

A young boy wearing a black t-shirt prepares for a health care professional to administer a dose of a COVID vaccine, as others work at tables in the background.
COVID vaccines for kids ages 5-11 are now available at numerous locations across Detroit. (Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Students ages 5-11 can now be vaccinated against COVID, and parents have several options, whether they’re looking for an appointment or seeking answers from a doctor about the vaccine.

Schools, city-run clinics, and pharmacies are offering shots for youngsters. Parents or guardians must accompany children under age 18.

The vaccine was deemed safe and effective for kids by federal officials last week. Parents say they are relieved that it is available, and school officials cheered it as another step toward normal in-person instruction. Vaccinated students typically don’t have to quarantine after a potential COVID exposure.

Here’s what families need to know about getting the vaccine and how to protect their children and those around them from COVID.

Where can I get my child vaccinated?

There are numerous sites across Detroit, including pharmacies, city clinics, and schools.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is hosting vaccine clinics at two locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School,  3200 E. Lafayette Street
  • Randolph Career and Technical Center,  17101 Hubbell Street

No appointment is needed for district-run clinics. DPSCD will provide second doses on Dec. 4 at the same locations.

The district is holding more clinics next week, and district leaders say more will be scheduled.

  • Mark Twain School for Scholars, 12800 Visger St. Detroit, MI 48217, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16 (return for a second dose Dec. 7)
  • Bagley Elementary School, 8100 Curtis St., 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 (return for a second dose Dec. 8)
  • Burton International Academy, 2001 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19  (return for a second dose Dec. 10)

The city is providing vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 at the following locations:

  • Detroit Health Department, 100 Mack Ave., from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
  • Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers Road, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays

The city clinics are offering the youth vaccine by appointment only. Mayor Mike Duggan said last week that appointments will be longer than normal vaccine slots to reduce wait time and anxiety. City clinics will be staffed by nurses with experience working with children. 

To book an appointment with the city, call 313-230-0505 or register online.

Pharmacies including Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS are offering vaccines for children ages 5-11 in the Detroit area. Some doctors’ offices may also offer the vaccine.

How is this vaccine different from adult COVID vaccines?

Only the Pfizer vaccine is currently available to children ages 5-11. Other manufacturers are working to win approval for their vaccines for younger children.

The shot has the same active ingredients as the Pfizer vaccine that has been taken by more than 100 million Americans, but contains one-third the amount as the adult vaccine and is given with a smaller needle. Like the adult vaccine, the one for children consists of two shots given three weeks apart, with full immunity reached two weeks after the second dose.

What is the evidence that the pediatric vaccine is effective and safe?

Pfizer’s vaccine for kids was 91% effective at preventing COVID in clinical trials, an efficacy rate similar to the adult vaccine. Side effects in children were mild and similar to those seen in adults. The most common side effect was a sore arm. The vaccine was recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after officials examined safety data.

I have questions about the vaccine. Who can I talk to?

Your child’s doctor will have the latest information about the vaccine. Parents can also call the Detroit COVID hotline at 313-876-4000 and press 3 to be connected to a nurse.

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