Detroit offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments for inoculating kids beginning next week

Beginning Nov. 8, Detroit will begin hosting vaccine clinics that are specialized for inoculating kids as COVID-19 vaccines become available to children ages 5-11.

With the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine now available, the city is working in tandem with Detroit Public Schools to coordinate appointments with parents.

Vaccines for kids will be offered at the Detroit Health Department on Mack and Woodward, as well as at the Northwest Activities Center.

  • Appointments made at the Detroit Health Office will be available between 4 - 8 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Appointments made at the Northwest Activities Center will be available between 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday

"We want to do this by appointment. Every parent knows a shot can be a scary experience (for kids), so we're making a separate process to make this as comfortable as possible," said Mayor Mike Duggan.

There are some 68,000 kids that are now eligible for the vaccine, Public Health Officer Denise Fair said. Parents or legal guardians must be in attendance for the shot. They'll need to show a photo ID, and sign paperwork. Parents are encouraged to set up an appointment before coming in. They can do so by calling (313) 230-0505.

Additionally, Detroit public schools, charter, and private schools will coordinate future vaccination events.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said those events will likely take place on the weekends to make it easier for parents.

"We're also considering a couple of days during the week as well as we approach the holidays," he added.

Until recently, kids ages 5-11 were among the last groups in the U.S. still without an option for protection from the virus that didn't include preventative measures like masks and social distancing. 

That changed this week when panels from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave their unambiguous approval for the vaccine. 

The child shot is about a third the dosage of the adult vaccines as kids don't require the same strength shot to receive the same kind of protection. It will also reduce the severity of side effects typical of receiving the vaccine. 

There are 825,000 kids in Michigan that are now eligible to receive the shot. Further inoculation among this group will make schools and daycares safer from infection for both children and staff.

Meijer is also accepting appointments to administer shots. Walgreens will begin administering them Saturday and CVS on Sunday. Michigan Medicine will begin on Monday and Beaumont will begin offering shots sometime next week.

For those that have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, they're probably familiar with the side effects that follow the first and second injection:

The arm where the shot was given gets sore and there might be some swelling and redness at the injection site. The rest of the body might go through a bout of fatigue and tiredness, a headache, muscle pain, chills, and a fever. These are normal. It's extremely rare that any side effect becomes more serious.

RELATED: What's the difference between the adult and child coronavirus vaccines?

But is it the same for children? With kids ages 5-11 now eligible to receive their own COVID-19 vaccine, what can they expect after getting their shot?

The short answer is, about the same as other people getting the shot.

Even with a lower dose, the side effects are about the same: aches in the arm where a child got the shot, a headache, muscle pain, fever, and chills, throughout the rest of the body. These are normal and a sign the body is responding to the vaccine by building immunity against COVID-19.

Some kids have no side effects at all.

RELATED: What side effects do kids experience after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

There are a few key differences between the version now offered to children and those that have been administered to teens and adults. Most notably is the dosage, which is one-third the strength of the adult version. It is intended to be a two-shot regiment taken three weeks apart.

The shot that adults receive is 30 micrograms of RNA, whereas the shot intended for kids is only 10 micrograms. It's possible that even younger kids could someday receive the same vaccine with an even smaller dosage.

According to Pfizer, the lower dose was chosen to minimize the side effects exhibited by the shot but still provide strong immunity.

"If you're using an antibiotic or any other chemotherapy, those doses are dependant on weight factors," said Dr. Bishara Freij, the pediatric infectious disease chief at Beaumont. "Vaccine responses are due to the immune system identifying what's been injected. It will process the product then start forming antibodies that are independent of the shot."