While the majority of big pharmacy chains are giving Covid vaccines starting at age 3, some are not. Publix and Kroger, for example, are offering shots starting at age 5.
CVS is offering Covid shots to children as young as 18 months at stores that house its MinuteClinic locations, but set the age minimum at 5 for other stores.
It was not clear on Thursday why some pharmacies set their age limits where they had. Erin Rolfes, a spokeswoman for Kroger, declined to comment on reasons its pharmacies had 5 set as the lower limit. Publix did not respond to messages seeking comment. A CVS spokeswoman, Amy Thibault, said only that the chain was using pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians to administer shots to children 5 and older.
Mitchel Rothholz, who leads immunization advocacy at the American Pharmacists Association, said all pharmacists are trained to administer vaccines to those ages 3 and older, but some may prefer to go through additional training before working with children younger than that.
“Whether the practice does it or not is based on their comfort level and resource availabilities,” he said.
Even if your pharmacy of choice is not offering shots to your eligible child, the pharmacist there can point you in the right direction. “I always encourage parents and caregivers to have a discussions with the pharmacy or reach out to their pediatrician,” Mr. Rothholz said.
Asked about many pharmacies’ policies to vaccinate children 3 and older on Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “much of this may be related to the PREP Act, but also ability of pharmacies to handle younger kids.”
She also pointed to what she described as “the willingness of parents to potentially want to take their younger kids to where they routinely get vaccinated, whether it’s their local community health center or their local pediatrician.”
Some parents have already encountered roadblocks.
Christine Chung and Carly Olson
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