Grand Forks Public Health will offer COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11, by appointment only, Monday through Wednesday afternoons, Nov. 22-24, at the Grand Cities Mall.

This age group is now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which has been deemed safe and effective for children in this age group, according to public health officials. The vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart for full protection and is the first and only vaccine currently available for children ages 5-11.

Appointments can be made by calling (701) 787-8100 or visiting www.grandforksgov.com/publichealth ; click on COVID-19 and, in the next menu, click on COVID-19 Vaccine. Grand Forks Public Health vaccinations will be given in the former Christian Bookshelf, located between Ace Hardware and Play It Again Sports, at 1826 S. Washington St.

Jessica Stuart, COVID-19 vaccination team coordinator for Grand Forks Public Health, said, “We are excited to once again be able to offer vaccines to children ages 5 to 11. This holiday season, we want to help families stay safe, and vaccines are a great way to offer protection to both children and adults.”

After successful clinical trials and a rigorous review of all available data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s request, in late October, to expand the emergency use authorization to include children ages 5-11. On Nov. 2, the CDC director officially confirmed the vaccine is safe and recommended the vaccine to this age group.

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Disease activity remains high across North Dakota, according to Grand Forks Public Health. The coronavirus, particularly the delta variant, can have a serious impact on a child’s health. Infection with the delta variant has resulted in nearly three times the number of children in U.S. hospitals since early summer.

Vaccination is a safe and critical tool in both combating further COVID-19 illness among children and stopping the spread in communities, officials say.

Grand Forks Public Health urges everyone to take steps to protect themselves and their communities by masking up in indoor public settings or outside where physical distancing is not possible; staying home if you’re feeling sick; and getting tested if you’re experiencing any symptoms or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.