CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito Administration on Friday announced a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available to Massachusetts children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The FDA authorized the booster for children aged 5-11 on Tuesday. The booster shot is intended to be received at least five months after the initial doses.  The decision to make the booster shot available was prompted by health experts seeing a steady decline in children getting the vaccine.

“Just as it does for adults, getting a booster dose will provide continued protection for this age group against COVID-19 and its variants, and that’s good news,” said DPH Chief Medical Officer Estevan Garcia. “As a pediatrician and as a parent, I want to stress that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is safe and effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalizations in children, and I encourage parents and families to get their children boosted and contact their health care provider if they have any questions.”

22News spoke to a family about the importance of getting the booster shot as cases rise in the commonwealth.

Kailey Rodriguez of Springfield said, “They’re kids, they like to hug everybody, handshake, they like to share drinks with their friends. I think it’s safer, whether you have the booster or not, you’re still likely to get it but less likely to spread it. So I think it’s safer. “

How to find a pediatric COVID-19 booster appointment:

  1. Parents who prefer to have their child vaccinated by their primary care provider should call their provider’s office directly.
  2. Visit the VaxFinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of hundreds of available locations. Residents will be able to narrow results to search for locations offering the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, with some appointments available now for booking. Additional appointments will be available online in the coming days. Many locations will be booking appointments out weeks in advance.
  3. For individuals who are unable to use VaxFinder, or have difficulty accessing the internet, the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 2 PM) is available by calling 2-1-1. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and has translators available in approximately 100 additional languages.

There is still no vaccine authorized for children under 5.