Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine appointments available with fewer delays than adult boosters, health department says

MADISON, Wis. —  For the past few years, the pandemic has cast a shadow over holiday festivities. This year, though, with vaccines and boosters casting a wider net of protection, things are looking a little more merry and bright.

Vaccinating your children is a big part of keeping everyone safe this holiday. Wisconsin vaccinators have been making progress on getting shots to the 5-11 age category, and in Dane County, there’s plenty of availability.

But UW Health’s Dr. Jeff Pothof says we aren’t quite out of the woods yet.

“Particularly for Christmas, the ability of 5- to 11-year-olds to get vaccinated will allow more families to celebrate Christmas together,” he said. “Now, unfortunately, if anything, the situation is getting worse for the unvaccinated not only do we have Delta around now we have Omicron which is a fair bit more contagious.”

With the Omicron variant looming, many families are rushing to get those pediatric and booster appointments before holiday gatherings. Pothof said there’s plenty of space for them at UW Health.

“All of these vaccines are pretty readily available out there,” he said. “For the most part, we’ve had a completely adequate supply for the last several months.”

Morgan Finke, the communications coordinator for Public Health Madison & Dane County, echoed Pothof. Though boosters at PHMDC’s Alliant Clinic are being scheduled two weeks out, pediatric appointments are available as early as tomorrow.

“Overall our vaccinators have done an amazing job keeping up with demand,” she said.

The process for signing a child up for the shot? Fairly simple.

“The process for getting a pediatric vaccination is very similar to how you sign up to get your own as a parent,” she said. “It takes less than 5 minutes to get signed up.” 

As we creep further into December, public health officials have one message for the public: be cautious.