RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina children between 6 months and 5 years old can now begin getting the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The department’s announcement on Saturday followed the FDA’s approval of the vaccine on Friday.

“Many parents and families have been eagerly awaiting a vaccine to protect our youngest North Carolinians,” said DHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley said. “These vaccines are the best way to protect children from COVID-19 — they are safe, effective and free.” 

Children between 6 months and 5 years old who get the vaccine will receive a smaller dose than other age groups. Booster shots are not currently authorized for this age group.

Officials said the state pre-ordered more than 100,000 shots, and the first wave of doses are expected to arrive on Monday. DHHS said the vaccines will be available at every health department and more than 300 pediatricians’ offices.

Officials said parents and guardians should contact their children’s pediatrician, medical provider or local health department for more details on when the vaccine will be available.

For more information about how vaccines for children work and where you can find a vaccination appointment nearby, visit MySpot.nc.gov