Vaccine line setup for children ages 5-11 at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

The San Mateo County Health Department is offering free pediatric COVID-19 vaccines at eight sites countywide throughout January.

Children ages 5 to 11 will be given the Pfizer vaccine. Boosters and vaccines for other ages will not be available.

Appointments are encouraged and can be scheduled through the state’s MyTurn vaccine website, https://myturn.ca.gov/, but walk-ins are allowed. Appointments for second doses will be scheduled automatically at the same location three weeks after the first dose.

Dates, locations, and times can be found at https://www.smchealth.org/pedsvaccine. The information is subject to change, so residents should check the website for the most up-to-date information.

COVID-19 vaccines have been subject to some of the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Clinical trials with thousands of children have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

“Vaccines are very effective in preventing children from getting very sick with the Delta and Omicron variants,” said County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Curtis Chan. “Vaccinated children are less likely to get infected and spread the disease to other family members, including younger siblings and grandparents.”