NEW YORK — For some parents, an appointment to get their child a COVID-19 vaccine was the hottest ticket in town Wednesday morning.

"It was kind of like in the spring, when you were looking for adult vaccinations and it was like, oh, there's one, you know, after school on Monday,” said Caolan Madden, a Brooklyn mother of two. "But then you click on it and it's gone, and then when you log back in different ones seem to have popped up."

What You Need To Know

  • Some parents hurried to snag spots for their children to get COVID-19 vaccinations in the coming days

  • Demand even crashed the online booking portal of one popular network of pediatricians' offices

  • Children will also be able to get their vaccine at school next week, with parental permission

Eventually, Madden managed to snag a Saturday appointment for her eight-year-old daughter, Jane, at a Walgreens about 20 minutes from home. She couldn't get in with her kids' doctors at Tribeca Pediatrics, which has offices in three boroughs, and saw so much demand the online booking system crashed.

This phone message greeted parents calling the offices: "Our patient portal and online scheduling is currently down due to an extremely high surge in demand for the pediatric COVID vaccine.”

Jane returned to school this fall for the first time in more than a year. She loves it, but her mom has still been nervous. With the vaccine appointment comes some relief.

"The weight that I think we've all felt of, like, trying to keep everybody we know alive, like, trying as hard as we can to, like, make our individual decisions be the right decisions for the collective and public health — and just to feel some of that weight come off when I got vaccinated was huge,” Madden said. "Then having some of that responsibility go away when my child is vaccinated, it's just going to be such a relief."

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends other parents follow Madden's lead and book an appointment.

“Immunizations and giving immunization information to families is what we do every single day,” said Dr. Warren M. Seigel, the New York chair of the AAP. “This vaccine is really no different than any other vaccines that children have been getting. So this is the time to understand that over six million kids have been infected with COVID. So the risk is not zero. It is important for all children who are between the ages of five and up — as well as adults — to do as much as they can to prevent infections, not just for themselves but for everyone at home.”

Still, some parents, like nurse Shashala McGregor, are not quite ready to sign up their children.

"I don't think there's enough information," McGregor said. "I'm not totally against it, but I think they should do more trials.”

For parents who do want to vaccinate their children, they'll have a convenient option next week: their child's public school.

"Each of our schools that has kids in that 5- to 11-year-old range, we're going to have a day for each school when vaccination is provided at the school building itself,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his weekly briefing Wednesday morning. "That will start next week."

Parental consent to be vaccinated will be required.


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