"I trust the scientists. I trust that this is what we all need so we can move on," said one mother.By Meghan Schiller

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Kids ages 5 to 11 can get COVID-19 shots starting as soon as Wednesday. The CDC gave its final clearance late Tuesday, and some parents in our area didn’t hesitate to act fast.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to parents who snagged the first appointments at UPMC’s Children’s Community Pediatrics in Monroeville.

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It’s a smaller dose, but with big protection. An 8-year-old is the first child in the Pittsburgh area to get a COVID shot from UPMC. She didn’t skip a beat Wednesday.

“I thought it was kind of random of a day, like a normal day, but then today, yeah, that’s another story,” she said.

She’s excited for the little things, like having more sleepovers with her friends, seeing her family more and being healthy.

UPMC opened appointments for kids 5 to 11 on Wednesday and Allegheny Health Network says it will start opening appointment slots on Friday.

Her mom called it a no-brainer.

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“I think that’s the right thing to do as a community. I trust the scientists. I trust that this is what we all need so we can move on,” she said.

The CDC gave the final sign-off late Tuesday, only hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided to open Pfizer’s shots to the nearly 28 million kids in that age group nationwide. Of the study of more than 2,000 kids, they found it nearly 91 percent effective.

“It’s the same general makeup but a third of the dose,” said UPMC pediatrician Dr. William Varley. “[It’s the] same schedule, one dose and then anytime three weeks after for the second dose.”

Pediatrician Dr. Varley says kids can expect the same aches and chills, but he believes the timing of this rollout is everything.

“We’re gonna move inside as it was cold this morning, with the windows closed, the respiratory illness spread a lot faster,” said Dr. Varley. “So certainly, the sooner we could get the vaccine up and running before we get into our winter respiratory season, the better.”

To sign up for appointments for UPMC:

  • All families can schedule by visiting vaccine.upmc.com calling 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.
  • If your child is an existing UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics patient, you can schedule an appointment online at www.childrenspeds.com or by calling your pediatrician’s office.
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To sign up for appointments for AHN, you’ll have to wait until Friday.

Meghan Schiller