The Medical Center at Bowling Green’s Urgent Care Clinic began administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Friday to children ages 5-11.

The move comes after The Associated Press reported kid-sized doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine cleared two final hurdles Tuesday – a recommendation from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers, followed by a green light from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

Med Center Health internal medicine and pediatric physician Dr. Helen Carter told the Daily News the vaccine would also be available to the new age group at Med Center Health Primary Care Bowling Green by appointment beginning Monday.

Carter said the vaccine for young children is a third of the size of the regular Pfizer dose, and the appropriate needle size would be used for kids.

“Children ages 5-11 make up about 39% of the COVID cases in individuals younger than 18 years old,” she said. “Helping get them vaccinated will help prevent the spread of COVID. Getting the vaccine early on before the holidays is important because you don’t have to worry about children spreading it to older members of the family.”

Like for older age groups, the vaccine is a two-dose series for children 5-11 with the second dose 21 days after the first.

Carter said the vaccine was 91% effective for preventing COVID-19 in children, and mild symptoms like arm soreness or fever would go away within 48 hours of receiving the shot.

She also reassured the vaccines were safe for the new age group.

“There have been clinical trials that have been going on to make sure the vaccine is safe for kids,” Carter said. “None of those kids had any serious side effects to the vaccine. Vaccines in general are very safe. They are fully recommended by the CDC and the FDA.

“The risk is low for issues in children who have COVID, but it isn’t zero. There are hardly any side effects to the vaccine compared to getting COVID. I think it’s also important to point out that a lot of children in this age group might have younger siblings who aren’t yet eligible for it. This helps protect them as well.”

She said health care providers at both sites would strive to make children comfortable before and after receiving the vaccine, similar to other pediatric shot situations.

The vaccine is available at Urgentcare seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parents can text COVID to 270-796-4400 to make an appointment for their child.

Minors under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The Associated Press said Walgreens planned to start kids’ vaccinations nationally on Saturday and parents could sign up online or by calling 1-800-Walgreens. CVS was also accepting appointments online and by phone at select pharmacies starting Sunday.

T.J. Regional Health Executive Vice President of Marketing Stacey Biggs said Thursday the Glasgow hospital is putting plans in place to offer the Pfizer vaccine for pediatric patients next week and will announce those plans soon.

The latest update from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services on Friday showed two counties in the Barren River region are still marked red for having a “critical” COVID incidence rate: Barren and Metcalfe.

Of the 10 counties in the Barren River region, only two have a vaccination rate of at least 50%: Simpson and Logan.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.