AUSTIN (KXAN) — For families who have had to put aspects of their lives on hold to protect unvaccinated family members, the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for kids Tuesday night was welcome news.
One of those families was Julie Yioutas’. Even though she, her husband and their oldest child have been fully vaccinated for months now, their youngest daughter doesn’t have that protection against COVID-19 because vaccines have not been available for her age group.
“It’s declining invitations, it’s doing things virtually instead of in-person, going to church has been on the T.V. screen in the living room instead of in-person,” Yioutas said. “For us having everyone in our family vaccinated, it’s a step toward resuming all of the things that we love.”
U.S. health officials approved the kid-sized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine late Tuesday night. With the announcement, pharmacies and health providers in Austin-Travis County are moving to get shots into arms of kids like Yioutas’ by as early as this week.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services says over the next few days, Texas will have received more than 1.3 million doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. Those doses will go to more than 900 providers, including many in Austin-Travis County.
Austin Public Health and Seton Medical Center Austin are both expected to receive more than 5,000 doses of pediatric vaccine. Lamar Plaza Drug Store, Tarrytown Pharmacy, Southwest Pediatric Associates Austin and Wildflower Pediatrics will all get more than 1,000 doses during that first round of vaccine shipment.
Dozens of other clinics in Austin and surrounding counties like 411 Pediatrics, Bee Caves Pediatrics Austin and One Medical are also slotted to get hundreds of doses.
National pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, who will get their vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and not through the state, have opened up appointments for pediatric vaccines as well.
Clinics like Tarrytown Pharmacy say they’ve seen huge demand for pediatric vaccines already. Between 4 p.m. and midnight Tuesday, the Austin pharmacy had more than 6,500 people book appointments for pediatric vaccines.
“I think now that we’ve been here for almost a year now, with these vaccines, most parents know whether they’re going to get their kids vaccinated and they’re just ready to get it done and hopefully resume a little bit of normalcy to their life and their school routines,” Ellie Studdard, pharmacist at Tarrytown Pharmacy.
That’s very much the case for Yioutas’ family.
“She’s (my daughter’s) the youngest in the family and she has to wait for a lot of things that the rest of us can do and so when I told her that it might happen within the next few days she had a big smile on her face,” Yioutas said.
Check out KXAN’s story on pediatric vaccine availability to find a COVID-19 vaccine for your child.