NEW BEDFORD — COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old are arriving in communities across the state, including in New Bedford. The shots will be available at some of the upcoming clinics in the city, including Friday, Nov. 5, at PAACA on Coggeshall Street and Monday, Nov. 8, at the Andrea McCoy Recreation Center.

Speaking Thursday from Boston Children’s Hospital, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker said  pediatric vaccine doses started shipping to Massachusetts last week, and state officials “don’t anticipate any supply issues” with the vaccines.

“We look forward to working with our partners in the health care community to make sure that every family has easy access to these vaccines,”  Baker said.

The eligibility of younger children to receive a vaccine marks another milestone in efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, which was first confirmed in Massachusetts in February 2020.

“We’ve come a long way,” Baker said. “A year ago, we hadn’t received any doses of vaccine and we were in the middle of fighting a fall surge in cases and hospitalizations. Today, vaccines are widely available across the commonwealth and millions of people in Massachusetts have stepped up to get vaccinated, and as a result, everyone who gets vaccinated is protected from getting very sick from COVID-19. In many respects, it’s that simple.”

Baker said more than 500 vaccine sites are so far offering the two-dose Pfizer pediatric vaccine, including pediatricians’ offices, pharmacies, community health centers, hospitals and clinics sponsored by both the state and local health boards.

Children ages 5 to 11 will receive a 10 microgram vaccine dose, compared to the 30 microgram dose for ages 12 and up, said Dr. Frinny Polanco Walters, an attending physician in the department of adolescent medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.

She said the smaller dose is effective, and that safety data from trials “showed there were no serious adverse reactions related to this vaccine,” with headaches, pain at the injection site and fatigue the most common reactions.

In New Bedford, walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics are planned into the coming week, with no appointment needed. Available vaccines can change according to supplies. Clinics are also offering CDC-approved booster shots for eligible recipients, in addition to first- and second-dose vaccines. Pediatric vaccines are only available at some locations, as noted in the listings below. 

Friday, Nov. 5:

  •  PAACA (360 Coggeshall St.) — 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., J&J, Pfizer and Moderna; pediatric vaccines for children 5–11 years old.

Saturday, Nov. 6:

  •  Riverside Park (Belleville Ave., North End) — noon to 5 p.m., Pfizer and J&J.

Monday, Nov. 8:

  •  Andrea McCoy Recreation Center (181 Hillman St.) — 2-7 p.m., Pfizer, Moderna, J&J; pediatric vaccines for children 5–11 years old.

Tuesday, Nov. 9:

  •  Greater New Bedford Community Health Center (874 Purchase St.) — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Pfizer, Moderna, J&J.
  •  Former Fire Station 11 (754 Brock Ave.) — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., J&J, Pfizer and Moderna.

Thursday, Nov. 11:

  •  Greater New Bedford Community Health Center (874 Purchase St.) — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Pfizer, Moderna, J&J.

“Mondays at McCoy” are one-stop shop for vaccines: With the arrival of pediatric vaccines at Andrea McCoy Recreation Center, the center’s Monday clinics from 2 to 7 p.m. — upcoming dates include Nov. 8, 15, and 22 — are now “one-stop shops” for families and people of all ages seeking COVID-19 protection, whether it be first or second doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines, boosters, or pediatric vaccines.

In-home vaccinations by appointment: The city and state are offering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly for elderly residents or those unable to travel to a clinic. To schedule an in-home vaccination (Moderna or J&J) with the New Bedford Health Department, call the department’s main line, 508-991-6199, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. 

To schedule an in-home vaccination (Moderna, Pfizer or J&J) through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, call the In-Home Vaccination Central Intake Line at (833) 983-0485, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Find more information about in-home vaccinations at the  Mass. DPH website.

Booster shots: The CDC has approved booster recommendations for Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines. Booster shots are available at local vaccine clinics, for people who are eligible under the following criteria.

For people who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings

Moderna booster vaccines are now available at Andrea McCoy Recreation Center, Fire Station 11, and PAACA clinics.

For anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, a booster shot is recommended two or more months after their initial shot.

Mixing and matching: The CDC also has approved mixing and matching of vaccine types for the booster dose. When first getting vaccinated, people should still get two doses of the same vaccine type, but for the booster, a different vaccine from the initial series can be used, following the criteria above.

More info: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1021-covid-booster.html

Vaccinations before the holidays: Vaccination levels in the region remain low, and daily case rates remain high. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not only about protecting yourself — it’s also about protecting your family, friends, and community. Vaccination is critically important ahead of the holiday season, when large family gatherings could lead to super-spreader events among people who are unvaccinated.

Start your vaccinations now to be fully vaccinated by late December and the New Year. City leaders and health officials are urging unvaccinated residents to get their first shot and begin vaccination as soon as possible, in order to have safe and healthy holidays.

Material from the State House News Service was used in this story.

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