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Child cancer survivor, his brother get first COVID vaccine for kids 5 and up in Houston

Thousands of children ages 5-11 are already signed up for appointments across the Houston area.

HOUSTON — Houston children as young as age 5 are now able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine — the first of these doses being administered Wednesday at Texas Children's Hospital.

Five-year-old Paxton and his brother, 9-year-old Patrick Bowers, are believed to be the first kids in the 5-11 age group to receive the vaccine in Houston. They were given one-third of the dose given to teens and adults.

Paxton, who is a kindergartener and cancer survivor, took his shot like a champ. He gave doctors and the team of nurses a thumbs up after receiving his dose.

Besides their parents and the hospital staff, the boys also had the support of two service dogs, Bailey and Pluto. The brothers played with and fed the dogs treats during their vaccinations.

RELATED: Kids ages 5 and up can get COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Texas Children's Hospital

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RELATED: No, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dosage is not the same for kids ages 5 to 11 as it is for adults

Texas Children’s Hospital reported having more than 7,000 people sign up within the first hour appointments opening up late last week.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine in children 5-11 on Friday, but the vaccine didn't become available to the public until it received final approval from the Center for Disease Control on Tuesday.

Under the emergency use authorization, children ages 5 to 11 can receive two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart -- the same regimen as all other Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recipients. But the vaccine dose for children ages 5 to 11 is 10 micrograms, which is one-third of the dose given to people 12 and older.  

Memorial Hermann Hospital also gave its first doses Wednesday to child patients. Dr. Misti Ellsworth, a pediatric and infectious disease expert at Children's Memorial Hermann, sat with her twin girls and son as they were vaccinated.

"I explained that this is a way to protect themselves from getting COVID, protect others around them, so they don't spread COVID to someone else," Ellsworth said. "And really to help them from getting sick, to keep them from having to go to the ER and missing school and activities."

Many providers – including pediatricians, children’s hospitals, health departments, and pharmacies – already have plans in place to start getting shots in the arms of children as soon as possible.

CVS Pharmacies has COVID vaccine appointments for children ages 5 and up as early as Sunday.

The CDC has a nationwide vaccine finder. Just put in your ZIP code and the type of vaccine you want and it will show options in your area.

RELATED: LIST: Where to get COVID vaccines for 5 to 11-year-old children in the Houston area

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