Kids Can Get COVID Vaccines This Week, Here’s What You Need To Know

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By the end of next week, families in Arizona and the country could have their young children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Valley doctors say it’s the right decision for children to go to a pediatrician for their COVID vaccine

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FOLLOWING

FOLLOWING

On Tuesday, external reviewers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will discuss data on a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.

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The FDA is expected to authorize the vaccine for school-aged children.

The final step comes next week, November 2-3, when counselors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to recommend how the vaccine should be used.

Here’s what we know about the deployment in Maricopa County:

Why are pediatricians on the front line?

As part of the White House’s plan for children, pediatricians are taking the lead on immunization.

The reason is simple: Children can be nervous about an injection and their parents can have a lot of questions about the vaccine. Pediatricians are the best people to treat both.

“Most parents want to know what’s in a vaccine,” said Dr. Gary Kirkilas, a pediatrician from Phoenix who is the spokesperson for the Arizona section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “They are looking for a reliable source of information.”

Family doctor Andrew Carroll added, “Kids don’t like it, but we have ways to help them get through it.”

This kind of personal response to children and parents is not possible at a mass vaccination site, like State Farm Stadium.

Are the doctors ready?

Statewide, more than 900 doctors have signed up to administer the vaccine.

Last week, the Maricopa County Public Health Department began taking doctors’ orders for the doses. Doses and needles will be smaller for children than for adults.

Some medical practices are already setting up appointments. It is worth checking to see if your pediatrician will offer the injections.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, when the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine begins, you can click on this link to find pediatricians who vaccinate children.

Where else can a child get vaccinated?

Community health centers, children’s hospitals, pharmacies and schools should also administer injections.

There were few details on this part of the deployment.

Don Herrington, Arizona’s acting director of public health, said pharmacies could be a few weeks behind doctors with their vaccinations.

How many doses are available?

The Biden administration said it has ordered enough doses to cover the estimated 28 million children who will be newly eligible.

In Maricopa County, the number of doses in initial order roughly matches the number of parents who should want their child immunized immediately.

It is estimated that 400,000 children in the county are eligible for the two-dose regimen.

County health officials expect to receive 139,200 doses for the first week of deployment, enough to cover a third of eligible children, according to spokeswoman Jeanene Fowler.

“It’s a good number. It’s a good start,” Carroll said.

Fowler said the county’s supply was guided by a Kaiser Family Foundation survey showing just over a third of parents – 34% – say they will vaccinate their child “right away.”

A similar share – 32% – want to “wait and see,” while 24% say their children “definitely won’t get” a COVID vaccine, according to the Kaiser study.

County Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Sunenshine said at a county board meeting last week: “The younger the children, the more hesitant parents seem.”

The Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 has been 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in children, according to Pfizer data.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Carroll said, getting children vaccinated would protect them at family gatherings, as well as the adults around them.

“In an ideal world, we get these kids vaccinated before Thanksgiving,” he said. “If they received their first injection two or three weeks before their Thanksgiving vacation, hopefully they will be at least partially protected when families begin to get back together.

“Maybe at the beginning of December they will get their second shot. It would leave them fully protected for those long Christmas holidays.”

Covid-19 vaccine

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