Families in San Mateo County are beginning to vaccinate their kids against COVID-19 following advice from federal officials and new local information on how to do so.

On Nov. 2, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommended that children ages 5 to 11 be vaccinated, and the agency has approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in kids. Children in this age range will receive one-third of the adult dose of the vaccine.

The CDC has found that while, in general, children

are less likely to suffer severe illness as a result of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and worse can result from infection. In August, the CDC released a report showing that hospitalization rates for those under 17 years of age and infected with the virus were four times higher in states with the lowest vaccination rates. Data shows that cases among those 5 to 11 years old peaked in January 2021 and dipped by early summer. However, once the Delta variant took hold, the CDC says cases have rebounded and in August were 28.5 incidences per 100,000 people in the population.

Local providers were working to begin giving children shots in accordance with CDC recommendations.

Vaccination clinics began at the San Mateo County Event Center, 1346 Saratoga Ave., in San Mateo, over the weekend. Families should use the MyTurn site to schedule appointments there. Upcoming clinics there include:

- 2:30 to 7 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10, 11 and 12; and

- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.

The county has remade the event center with age-appropriate games and themes to help “take the sting” out of the need for a shot.

“Parents and children have waited a long time for their turn to be vaccinated and we want to give them an experience that is positive,” said County Manager Mike Callagy.

Schools are also setting up clinics, though officials warned on Thursday that many of the existing clinics are already full. One is set for Nov. 16 at Sunset Ridge Elementary School, 340 Inverness Drive, in Pacifica. In Half Moon Bay, officials at the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside said they were working to host a clinic in the coming days.

Pharmacies and private doctors have also begun to give shots.

Clay Lambert is the editorial director for Coastside News Group. After years working at regional daily newspapers, he began as editor of the Half Moon Bay Review in 2004.

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