Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday that Minnesota is ready to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to young children as soon as they become eligible.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday recommended Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for babies under six months old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to fix the move and it could happen later this week.
If all federal hurdles are cleared, the first child-sized dose could arrive in Minnesota next week. If they do, doctors, clinics, pharmacies and at least one community site will be ready to administer them.
“This is a historic moment in Minnesota’s fight against the pandemic,” Walz said in a statement. “Many families have long waited for their children to get a COVID-19 shot to help prevent serious illness and keep children in class and activities.”
Details on vaccine availability and the rest of the state’s coronavirus response can be found at mn.gov/covid19 or by calling 1-833-431-2053.
About 320 different vaccine providers will give injections to children as young as 5 years old up to six months old, and about 268 of them will be ready within the first week of receiving the baby-sized shots. Another 44 Minute Clinics and 50 pharmacies will also offer shots to younger children, but not all will give them to children under age 3.
The Mall of America community vaccination site will be ready to take shots as soon as it arrives. Initially the appointments will be required and registration should start from June 20. Other community sites will also offer shots and the state plans to expand access to other clinics.
“Our youngest children deserve protection from COVID-19, and I’m so glad they finally get it,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “Now is the time to plan your child’s vaccinations. Reach out to doctors and providers you trust to ask questions.”
Currently, about 71 percent of the eligible Minnesota population, who are 5 years of age and older, have completed their initial dose of the vaccine. But less than half of those who are initially vaccinated are up-to-date on their recommended boosters.
Vaccines continue to protect against serious illness and death, even though the types of viruses infect more people who are vaccinated. Protection from vaccines decreases after about five months and boosters are recommended for all people 5 years of age and older.