Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services holds an evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
K-12 Education

How to sign up children ages 5 to 11 for the COVID-19 vaccine in Santa Cruz County

Parents and guardians started signing up their children ages 5 to 11 for the COVID-19 vaccine this week after a final panel of experts approved the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. County officials will launch their vaccine program for the age group Monday.

After the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup gave its approval this week to emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, following the OK from a pair of federal agencies, Santa Cruz County parents and guardians immediately began signing up their kids for the shot.

From school sites to pharmacies and pediatricians’ offices, children will be able to get their first dose, which will be one-third of the amount adults receive, at a long list of locations.

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Starting Monday, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education will begin getting doses to the age group at sites in Santa Cruz, Aptos and Watsonville through its partnership with Inspire Diagnostics. The vaccine is offered on a voluntary basis and is not required for students to attend in-person school. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the state plans to make the vaccine a requirement once it receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Just over 72% of the total population of Santa Cruz County — a figure that includes the 5-to-11 age group that just became eligible — has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the county’s vaccine data dashboard. During a town hall hosted by the County Office of Education last week, officials said 71% of those aged 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated.

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In addition to signing up through the County Office of Education for the vaccine, parents and caregivers have several additional options: get children the vaccine through their pediatrician’s office, checking MyTurn.ca.gov or calling 833-422-4255, searching the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s VaccineFinder.

MyTurn and VaccineFinder will direct users to sign up for open appointments at sites such as local CVS, Safeway, Walgreens and other locations offering the vaccine. Separately, the County Office of Education also plans to bring the vaccine to school sites and drive-through clinics. To sign up for the vaccine through the county, click here.

Where to get vaccine through the County Office of Education

Once signed up, children will either receive the vaccine at a school site or a drive-through clinic. The drive-through clinic locations listed below will operate Monday through Friday 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Cabrillo College, Parking Lot K, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos 95003
  • Pajaro Valley Unified School District Office, 294 Green Valley Rd., Watsonville 95076
  • Santa Cruz COE, 399 Encinal St., Santa Cruz 95060

    Among the 110 schools in the county participating in the collection of COVID-19 data, there were 44 active COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon. The schools have a 14-day positivity rate of 0.36%, a rate that has been increasing slightly since Oct. 12.

    During the town hall meetings last week, local pediatricians — Drs. Cal Gordon and Devon Francis — encouraged parents and caregivers to talk to their children’s pediatricians about any concerns they have regarding the vaccine.

    For additional questions, call the County Office of Education Vaccine Support Line at 831-466-5906.