Kathy Hochul

NYC Offers $100 Incentive to Kids Age 5-11 Vaccinated at City-Run Sites Starting Now

New York City-run vaccine sites start providing COVID shots to kids aged 5-11 on Thursday -- and the financial incentives are already flowing

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What to Know

  • New York and New Jersey started to administer Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to more than 2.2 million kids aged 5-11 this week
  • They're available at city- and state-run sites and major drug chains like Walgreens and CVS will start offering shots to kids under 12 this weekend; a major NYC in-school drive is planned for next week
  • New York City says newly eligible kids who get vaccinated at city-run sites are eligible for the $100 incentive program

New York City-run vaccine sites started offering COVID shots to kids aged 5 to 11 for the first time on Thursday -- and the financial incentives are already flowing.

How does $100 sound?

Two days after the CDC OK'd Pfizer's COVID vaccine for emergency use among kids ages 5 to 11 -- and the first day those newly eligible children can get dosed at city-run vaccine sites -- officials are appealing to parents in every way they can, including making those kids immediately eligible for the city's incentive program.

It's simple, Mayor Bill de Blasio says -- get your 5-to-11-year-old dosed at a city-run vaccine site and get $100. Getting these younger kids their first doses now allows plenty of time to have them fully protected before Christmas -- and just might give moms and dads a bit of extra pocket money to help with Santa's gift list.

"Everyone can use a little more money around the holidays but most importantly we want our kids and our families to be safe," the mayor said.

Both walk-ins and appointments are accepted.

New York City and New Jersey Vaccine Providers

Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Data: City of New York, State of New Jersey • Nina Lin / NBC

Time is of the essence as the city looks to fast-track its COVID recovery effort now that millions of more kids are eligible for vaccination. Children have to wait three weeks between Pfizer doses, just like adults, but their doses are lower.

Even if they won't be fully inoculated by Thanksgiving, one dose will still give them some added protection for travel or family gatherings, officials have said. If a city-run site doesn't suit your needs, no worries. There are plenty of options -- and de Blasio has said he doesn't care which avenue parents take to inoculate their kids.

He just hopes they'll take one of them. Starting next week, every public school that serves kids ages 5 to 11 will have a dedicated vaccination day for those students.

Mayor de Blasio said that amounts to about 1,070 school vaccination sites over the course of the week and about 200 school sites daily.

It doesn't matter if parents choose to get the shot at school next week, at city-run sites starting Thursday or if they feel more comfortable with their pediatrician, de Blasio said. He just urges parents get their kids inoculated -- and if it is at school, a parent or guardian needs to be present or give verbal consent by phone.

Verbal consent can also be provided by phone, he added.

"All choices are good choices, but we want to make it available and easy for parents who prefer just to go to their local school building," the mayor said Wednesday.

Millions of shots made by Pfizer were advance-shipped to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, which also began accepting appointments for kids early Wednesday. The state of New York had pre-ordered more than 380,000 doses and some were given out Wednesday at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore.

Twin sisters Jamie and Ryann Franceschini, 11, shared a lot of things growing up and they also shared the experience of being one of the first kids in NYC to get the vaccine. The best part about the shot? Ryann said, "I finally get to see my friends inside my house instead of just playing outside."

For the Acholonu family, it was pretty easy to convince 9-year-old Kenechi, 7-year-old Amechi and 5-year-old Chizara to get vaccinated. Their mom and dad said it wasn't a big deal.

"My parents told me it doesn't hurt any more than a flu shot," the eldest sibling said.

As a slew of parents of 5- to 11-year-olds raced to schedule appointments on the state website, though, many encountered a critical problem: A message saying their children weren't yet eligible to receive vaccines and to check back later.

Officials later explained that while the CDC did approve emergency use of Pfizer's lower-dose vaccine for the youngest kids, the agency had yet to deliver guidance that accompanied previous age and risk groups. Providers who do have the proper dosage now are legally permitted to begin administering doses, but some appeared to be awaiting a letter from the state health department with further instruction.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday encouraged parents to vaccinate their children, saying the approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 pediatric doses is a "giant step forward" out of the pandemic.

Pediatricians say they have been overwhelmed with calls for appointments. Uptown Pediatrics in Manhattan sent families a letter on Wednesday, explaining that they have not received the doses yet.

“We do NOT yet have the vaccine in our office. We placed an order last week and are awaiting confirmation about when the vaccine will be delivered. We will NOT schedule appointments until we have it," the letter read.

Major pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens said they will have appointments starting this weekend.

"There’s no wrong door here. We just wanna get as many kids vaccinated as quickly as we can," NYC Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said.

In a statement later Wednesday, a health department spokesperson told News 4, "New York State will waste no time in helping get shots administered to children ages 5-11 through all available channels so that New York parents and guardians can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Providers can start administering pediatric doses for 5-11 year-olds today, as long as they have pediatric doses on hand and are administering the vaccines according to the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement."

Over in New Jersey, a drive-through vaccine site in Kearny began giving out some of the 203,000 pre-ordered doses. The vaccination event was supposed to get started at 3 p.m. Wednesday but it got pushed up two hours earlier due to high demand.

For weeks, both states have been preparing for the vaccine's approval in the youngest age group yet. Hochul said Tuesday that more guidance was forthcoming and urged parents to reach out to their pediatricians to prepare and schedule shots.

Ultimately, officials had said they expected a significant crush of parents seeking vaccinations for kids age 5-11, so some of the initial headaches were expected. Those should be cleared up within a day or so, if past experience is a guide.

New York City-run vaccine sites will start administering vaccines to that age group on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, giving those kids more than plenty of time to be fully protected before Christmas -- and get some protection before Thanksgiving. NBC New York's Checkey Beckford reports.
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