WASHINGTON (AP) – Children between the ages of 5 and 11 will soon be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine in a pediatrician’s office, a local pharmacy and possibly even a school, the White House said Wednesday, detailing plans for pending Pfizer approval. shot for young children in a matter of weeks.
Federal regulators will meet over the next two weeks to weigh the benefits of vaccinating children after lengthy research to ensure vaccine safety.
Within hours of formal approval, expected following a consultative meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scheduled for November 2-3, the supply of medicines to dose providers across the country will begin, along with smaller needles needed for injecting young children, and during several days will be shipped. ready to go into the arms of children on a large scale.
“We are finalizing operational planning to make vaccinations for children ages 5-11 affordable, easy and convenient,” White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zientes said Wednesday.
The Biden administration notes that a nationwide campaign to extend vaccination protection to a school cohort will not look like the beginning of a vaccine rollout in the country 10 months ago, when due to lack of doses and problems with performance, many Americans had to wait a long time. There is now enough Pfizer vaccine in the country to vaccinate the approximately 28 million children who will soon be eligible for vaccination, White House officials said, and have worked for months to make vaccines widely available once approved.
More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers have already signed up to vaccinate children against COVID-19, in addition to tens of thousands of retail pharmacies already vaccinating adults, according to the White House. Hundreds of school and community clinics will also be funded and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help expedite the use of weapons.
The White House is also gearing up to intensify a campaign to educate parents and children about the safety and ease of receiving these shots. As with adult vaccinations, the administration believes that trusted messengers – educators, doctors, and community leaders – will be vital in encouraging vaccinations.
While children are at a lower risk of serious COVID-19 side effects than older adults, these serious consequences do occur – and officials note that vaccination dramatically lowers those chances and reduces the spread of the more transmitted delta variant in communities, contributing to this. towards wider recovery of the country after the pandemic.
“COVID has also disrupted the lives of our children. It made it difficult for them to study, made it impossible for them to see friends and family, and it made youth sports more challenging, ”US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told NBC on Wednesday. “By vaccinating our children, we have a chance to protect them and also bring back all the activities that are so important to our children.”
Murthy said the administration, which is pushing employers’ demands for adult vaccinations, leaves the issue of school requirements to local and government officials, but called them “reasonable.”
“When it comes to school requirements, these are decisions that are made locally and in the states,” he told NBC’s Today. “You’ve already seen how some places and states talk about vaccine requirements for children. And I think it’s wise to think about raising the vaccination rate. And this is also in line with what we have done for other childhood vaccines such as measles, mumps, polio. ”
The administration notes that children who get their first vaccine within a couple of weeks of expected approval in early November will be fully vaccinated by Christmas.
The US purchased 65 million doses of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine – expected to be one-third of the dose for adults and adolescents – more than enough for every child in this age group, according to official figures. They will be shipped in smaller packs of about 100 doses each so that more suppliers can ship them, and they can be stored for up to 10 weeks at standard refrigeration temperatures.
About 219 million Americans age 12 and older, or 66% of the total population, have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 190 million are fully vaccinated.