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Syringes filled with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are ready to be administered by medical staff during a drive-through vaccine clinic in the parking lot at National Jewish Health on Jan. 29, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Approximately 300,000 Coloradans woke Thursday morning with a new status: They are now eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.

After the federal government Wednesday approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people as young as 12, Colorado officials gave vaccine providers the OK to start putting needles into younger arms starting Thursday. That brings the total number of people eligible to be vaccinated in Colorado to nearly 5 million — roughly 85% of the state’s total population.

“It is a big day for all of our providers and our community vaccination sites across the state,” said Kate McIntire, the deputy director of Colorado’s state vaccine task force.

But there are a few wrinkles when it comes to vaccinating kids. Here’s what you need to know.

Kids under the age of 18 can only get the Pfizer vaccine

The only coronavirus vaccine so far approved for children is the one made by Pfizer. It requires two doses, spaced three weeks apart. Accounting for a two-week period after the second dose to reach maximum efficacy, it is five weeks from the first dose to full immunization.

In approving the vaccine for use in kids as young as 12, federal regulators examined the result of a study involving 2,260 kids. There were no cases of COVID-19 in kids who got the vaccine, compared with 18 cases in kids who received the placebo. Side effects were not reported to be any worse than what adults experience.

When The Colorado Sun dug into the data last month, headaches, fatigue and chills were the top three side effects reported for the Pfizer vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine is available in a lot of places

Unlike the early days of the vaccination campaign, when finding a vaccine appointment was like hunting for buried treasure, shots are now widely and easily available.

All six of the state’s community vaccination sites have the Pfizer vaccine, and you don’t need any appointment at any of them, though you can schedule one if you prefer. More information is available on the state’s website.

The state is also running mobile vaccination clinics with the Pfizer vaccine available. Find details about them here.

These tips from our readers are also still useful, and many of the websites mentioned here allow you to limit your search to just places with the Pfizer vaccine.

Kids need to have their parents’ consent to be vaccinated

Colorado requires parental permission before children are vaccinated. This holds true for the coronavirus vaccines, as well.

Parents don’t necessarily need to be present when the vaccination occurs, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. But providers must at least receive documented proof of consent before they will administer a vaccine to a kid. Check with the place that will provide the shot to learn what information you need to bring or what forms you need to fill out.

John Ingold is a co-founder of The Colorado Sun and a reporter currently specializing in health care coverage.

Born and raised in Colorado Springs, John spent 18 years working at The Denver Post. Prior to that, he held internships at the Rocky Ford Daily Gazette, the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Rocky Mountain News, among other publications. He also interned one summer in the public relations office at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where he got to sit on an elephant's knee and get his photo taken.

John was part of The Denver Post's 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning breaking news team for its coverage of a shooting at an Aurora movie theater, and, in 2015, he was a Pulitzer finalist for a series he wrote on parents whose children suffer from a rare form of epilepsy and the help they hoped to find through Colorado's medical marijuana system.

Email: Twitter: @johningold