CLEARWATER, Fla. - This week marked the first time children as young as 5 years old could receive a COVID-19 vaccine and a lot of parents didn't wait long to bring their kids to a pharmacy.
Marlene Shaker, owner of the Better Life Pharmacy in Clearwater, received her first shipment of lower-dose COVID-19 vaccines for younger children. The shots are one-third the dose given to adults.
Shaker said nearly 30 children received their first shots at her pharmacy Thursday and roughly the same amount came by Friday too.
"We're expecting more over the weekend and in next week, once the word gets out that we have the vaccine," she said. "I think it's going to be a great step forward towards the end of the pandemic because that was [one of] the last populations to get vaccinated."
All major pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, and Publix, began accepting appointments earlier this week, after the CDC approved the use of Pfizer's vaccine in children, ages 5 to 11.
Parents didn't wait long to book appointments at Better Life Pharmacy.
"We have been waiting for it since the start of the pandemic," said Miriam Louca, whose 9-year-old son received his first dose Friday.
"We have family and friends who are immunocompromised so we felt that it was really important for them to get this since they are in school and exposed," said another mother, there with her three kids.
Another mom added, "it was important for us to come as soon as we can so we can have our lives back to some kind of normalcy."
Gov. Ron DeSantis is relying on pharmacies to administer this round of vaccinations and isn't planning on launching any state-run sites dedicated to vaccinations for children.
Shaker said evidence has shown the vaccine for younger children has mostly minimal side effects, including sore arm and potentially mild flu-like symptoms.