About 100,000 children in Montgomery County, Maryland, are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, officials said. But some parents told News4 they're already having difficulty finding appointments as demand for the shots is high.
The county began its rollout of the vaccine on Thursday.
Masks hid the smiles, but excitement could be felt at the Silver Spring Civic Center Thursday as moms and dads brought their young ones to get their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
"We’re incredibly excited to start taking the first step back to normalcy," father Colin Heffernan said.
"This is the happiest day in almost two years," mother Stacy Durand said. "I want them to be able to play without me being afraid they're going to get some scary awful thing."
The Silver Spring Civic Center is one of three health department-run sites offering shots, but a bulk of the 39,000 doses allocated to Montgomery County will be administered at pharmacies, doctors offices and retailers like Walgreens and CVS.
That’s the first place Kimberly Glassman thought to look for an appointment for her son Zach, but said she was frustrated to learn that he would have to wait longer. Nov. 15 was the earliest appointment date she could get for him.
Much like the initial rollout of the vaccine, appointments for kids are going quickly. Parents told News4 they didn't have much luck on the state’s website either.
To help with high demand, the health department said it will keep its clinics open longer on Friday, and this weekend a dozen MCPS schools will serve as vaccine clinics, with schools in low-income communities a top priority.
"We are trying to balance making sure that we can have access to communities that have been disproportionately impacted," said Dr. Earl Stoddard, the director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security.
County officials said they hope to get through the initial batch of doses by early next week, which would result in about 35-40% of the county’s 5-11 population being vaccinated. That would move the county even closer to the threshold of 75% of the total eligible population vaccinated, putting an end to the mask mandate and mark another step towards normal.