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If you’re under 18, here’s what you need to know before scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine appointment

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(WBNG) -- Children ages 16 and 17 will now be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there is a bit of a catch.

Those under 18 will only be allowed to receive Pfizer's vaccine. It is the only one publicly available and authorized for people under the age of 18. Before scheduling an appointment, you will need to make sure you pick the right vaccine.

"Right on our website, you can tell what vaccine we'll be giving that day," said Broome County Health Department Director Rebecca Kaufman.

In checking the county's website, there are a few appointments available, but only for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"It's really up to the person to look and say, 'Okay, there are no Pfizer appointments this week,' and to check back," said Kaufman.

If you are under 18 and schedule an appointment for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, you will not be given the shot when it is your turn.

"When someone comes, we do ask for proof of identification, so typically that is a driver's license. Obviously, a younger person may not have that, but we do go through questions with them and ask their eligibility," said Kaufman.

Children will also require a little extra paperwork and a parent or legal guardian present at the appointment.

"We have a form for them to sign off before they receive the vaccine," said Kaufman.

While the Broome County Health Department is expecting more Johnson & Johnson vaccines, they do anticipate receiving many Pfizer vaccines in the future, especially with a growing interest among young people to get the vaccine.

"They are in high school, they don't want to miss the end of the year activities, and if it's their senior year, they definitely don't want to miss out on anything that could be going on," said Kaufman. "I'm excited that the young people are excited to get the vaccine, of course, we want them all to the signup."

If appointments are unavailable through the county's website, you can try checking New York State's availability instead.

Katie Jones

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