Thursday, December 01, 2022

Governor Waltz Welcomes COVID Vaccinations for Children

Governor Waltz Welcomes COVID Vaccinations for Children

Minnesota health officials say parents can breathe a sigh of relief when children aged 5 to 11 can be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The first doses of Pfizer vaccine were given to children on Wednesday at the Mall of America clinic in Bloomington. Minnesota only had about 500 doses, but health officials hoped to triple that number by Thursday and plan to receive roughly 250,000 doses in the state by next week.

About 505,000 Minnesotans are in the new 5-11 age group. Health officials are ready for the initial rush, but injections may not be administered statewide until early next week.

“We’re looking for something that really changes the game,” Gov. Tim Waltz said during a visit to the Mall of America clinic. He added that 1,100 health care providers across the state are ready to vaccinate as they enter the state.

He noted that the little girl who had received the vaccine had high hopes for picnics after the vaccination. “I’m going to Disneyland,” Waltz said, which was the target of the young man who received the injection.

Ian Malcolm, state health commissioner, urged parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. She acknowledged that severe COVID-19 infections are rare in children, but said they still happen.

About 45,000 Minnesota children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the summer, and 300 have been hospitalized. During the pandemic, four residents under the age of 20 have died and about 500 children across the country have died from COVID-19.

“Today is a great relief for many parents,” Malcolm said.

Hennepin Healthcare pediatrician Dr. Krish Subrahmanyan and Dr. Sheldon Berkowitz, CEO of Homeland Health and President of the Minnesota Branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics, joined Waltz and Malcolm to highlight the safety of Pfizer vaccine for children.

Federal regulators voted unanimously Tuesday to allow children to receive 10 microgram doses of Pfizer vaccine, one-third of the traditional dose. The best immune response still requires a two-injection regimen 21 days apart.

“This vaccine is safe and effective, I cannot stress this enough,” Berkowitz said. “Personally, I can’t wait to hear that my 5-year-old and 8-year-old granddaughters have finally gotten their vaccinations. It will be a big day for our family. “

Subrakhmanyan described the day of the first shots for children as a “holiday”.

Pediatrician Dr. Krish Subrahamanyan addresses the media as Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz and Health Commissioner Ian Malcolm listen on the vaccination site at the Mall of America in Bloomington, November 3, 2021. Waltz and Malcolm joined with health officials to talk about vaccine availability. COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 years old. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

“I know it was a really difficult two years,” Subrakhmanyan said. He noted that parents are looking for the best ways to keep their children safe.

“This is the moment when we can get out of this turmoil and dullness, find clarity and security,” he said.

Still, if nationwide polls show any indication, Minnesota health officials have work to do to convince parents to vaccinate their children. So far Minnesota has administered 7 million doses of the vaccine, and about 62 percent of the state’s 5.8 million people have received at least one vaccine.

Malcolm says only one-third of parents in the country indicated they want to get their children vaccinated right away. Another third are interested in learning more about personnel.

Waltz urged parents to seek information from qualified healthcare professionals rather than “their Facebook uncle.”

“It’s about our children becoming children,” Waltz said. “The only way to do it is to defeat this thing, this virus. The vaccine is the way to beat her. “

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