Covid-19 Vaccine Program for Kids “will be running at full strength” beginning November 8
The pathway is being cleared for vaccination of the youngest age group yet in the United States.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Nov 04, 2021
The United States' Covid-19 vaccination program for children ages five to 11 will be "running at full strength” next week, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said.
"While vaccinations may start later this week, the program will still be ramping up to its full strength, with millions more doses packed, shipped and delivered and thousands of additional sites coming online each day," Zients said, noting that 15 million child-sized doses of the Pfizer vaccine are already being moved from freezers and facilities to distribution centers.
Pfizer's vaccine for children ages five to 11 received emergency use authorization from the FDA Friday. The CDC's vaccine advisers met Tuesday to consider whether to recommend its use in that age group. Shots can be administered after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off on the recommendation.
"So, starting the week of November 8, the kids' vaccination program will be fully up and running," Zients said. "Parents will be able to schedule appointments at convenient sites they know and trust to get their kids vaccinated. And the number of sites will continue to increase throughout the month as more vaccine sites open their doors to administer vaccine."
Pfizer's vaccine for children ages five to 11 is not only reformulated at one-third the dose, but re-packaged with a new orange top, so it will be difficult to mix up with the adult vaccine. The Biden administration secured enough supply to vaccinate the 28 million children who are eligible for vaccination and will help equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of community health centers and rural health clinics as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies to administer the shots, according to the White House.
Pfizer's vaccine for younger children is a smaller dose: 10 micrograms, rather than 30 micrograms. The vaccine is expected to ship in packages of 100 doses, which is much smaller than the packages of 1,170 doses used for the adult vaccines.
"We also want to be sensitive to the fact that these are children in school, so we need to make sure there is minimum loss of instruction time. Our goal is to make the whole process convenient, easy and accessible for families," Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical adviser at PM Pediatrics and a pediatrician in Annapolis, Maryland said.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.