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Kids under 5 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s where to find it in the Wichita area

Deborah Shaar

With few clinics in the area offering the COVID-19 shot for kids under 5, Sedgwick County is now offering the vaccine to anyone 6 months and up.

Federal health officials have approved the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5, but few clinics in the Wichita area are offering the shot, especially to the youngest children now eligible.

After news broke last week of the vaccine’s approval, the Sedgwick County Health Department initially announced that it would only provide the so-called “tender age” vaccine to kids without insurance and those insured through Medicaid.

But after seeing that few clinics in the area were offering the shot, Health Department Director Adrienne Byrne decided to expand the county’s offerings to include anyone 6 months and up, regardless of insurance.

“We realized there was quite a gap in services, hearing that a lot of pediatricians aren’t providing that vaccine,” she said.

Laura Hull said she encountered the same issue last week while trying to find a vaccine appointment for her son.

“We were able to go to Walgreens on Saturday,” she said. “I have a 3-year-old, so we were able to make it work. But it sounds like anyone with someone under 3 has much more limited options.”

KMUW contacted a number of clinics in Wichita and the surrounding area. Based on phone calls and information from each clinic’s website, here is a compilation of local vaccine offerings:

Offering ‘tender age’ vaccine by appointment: 

  • Sedgwick County Health Department - Vaccines available for anyone 6 months and up 
  • Butler County Health Department - Vaccines available for anyone 6 months and up 
  • Dillons Little Clinic - Vaccines available for anyone 12 months and up 
  • CVS - Vaccines available for anyone 18 months and up 
  • Walgreens - Vaccines available for anyone 3 and up

The Sedgwick County Health Department is scheduling vaccine appointments by phone Monday through Friday at its main clinic, 2716 W. Central. Parents can call (316) 660-7300 to schedule an appointment for their child.
The health department is currently only offering the Pfizer vaccine, which is given in three doses to kids under 5.

The county also plans to host a special vaccine clinic from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, at its main clinic. Infants and toddlers can get vaccinated at the special clinic by appointment.

The county does not plan to offer the vaccine for kids under 5 at its mobile clinics.

“We are going to stick with 5 and up (at mobile clinics) because not everybody has the training and ability to work with children that young,” Byrne said.

Byrne said that so far, the county has only distributed a small amount of vaccines to kids under 5. She said research indicates only about 15% of parents with kids in that age group feel ready to give the shot to their kids.

Hull, the parent, said that it had been a “long wait” to get her son vaccinated against COVID-19.

“My son barely flinched at the shot, and we haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary in the last couple days,” she said. “So we’re very happy with the way it turned out.”

Daniel Caudill is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. He was a reporter, photographer and digital content manager for The Derby Informer and an editor and reporter for The Sunflower. In the spring of 2020, Daniel helped cover the legislative session in Topeka as an intern for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @CaudillKMUW.