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Vaccines are available for kids under 5, but getting an appointment around Seattle is pretty hard

caption: Sandino, eight months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022.
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Sandino, eight months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022.
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

It may be hard to find an open Covid vaccine appointment for kids in the Seattle area. Initial demand is high for youngsters. And as many parents are finding out, not all providers are allowed to offer the vaccines to children.

Initial demand for the Covid vaccine for babies and toddlers has led to waitlists at many local providers. That’s in part because families that have been waiting for more than a year are snatching up available appointments as soon as they can.

RELATED: Kids under 5 receive first Covid-19 doses in Seattle

The CDC recently opened Covid vaccines to kids between 6 months and 5 years old.

"Families, including my own, have been waiting months and months for this to happen, so there’s definitely a group that has sort of pent-up demand for this, and we need to just be a little more patient while people get access," said Dr. Mark Del Beccaro, a pediatrician who helps King County manage its vaccine program.

"But it’s here, finally," he said.

Plus, a delayed vaccine shipment meant some providers had to reschedule many appointments.

It’s also because not all providers can offer vaccines for babies and toddlers, so there are fewer places to go for appointments.

So most of the places offering vaccines to kids under 5 are pediatric and family practice offices. And not all of them put their appointments on the state’s vaccine locator website. So the best way to get a vaccine appointment for a small child is to call their medical provider.

"You have to prep the family," Del Becarro said. "You know, have the child held in the right way. You have to know how to inject in the thigh if they’re small. And be also prepared in the very, very unlikely and rare event of an allergic side effect, to how to handle those."

Del Beccaro believes that everybody seeking a vaccine for their kids should be able to get one within the next month.

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