Kids aged between 5 and 11 will likely soon be eligible for Covid vaccines in the US, as the Biden administration plans to vaccinate millions of children before the holiday season. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is still pending approval, but is expected to be available in early November.
The White House announced on Wednesday that, if approved for younger children, the vaccine will be available to around 28 million more children in the United States.
How will the roll-out of vaccines work for young children?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 5-11 year olds will be supplied in a dose and formula specifically for the age group. It will be delivered to providers in pre-packaged, paediatric-sized vials with smaller needles and other supplies required for administering the shots to children. Kids will need two doses to be fully vaccinated.
Sonya Bernstein, a senior policy adviser for the White House Covid-19 Response Team said the aim was to provide a “kid-friendly experience that makes sure that we’re getting shots in arms with trusted providers in ways that makes parents feel comfortable”, reported the New York Times.
Where will kids be able to get the vaccine?
Across the country, there will be tens of thousands of sites for kids to get vaccinated, as the US government said it was planning to make vaccination as accessible and convenient for families as possible. Jabs will be available at doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and school-based clinics, while vaccination clinics are going to be set up in partnership with 100 to 200 children’s hospitals nationwide.
When will the vaccine for 5-11 year olds be approved?
At the moment, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech two-dose vaccine, and a panel of outside advisers will advise on October 26. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will then make recommendations regarding the vaccine at a meeting on 2 and 3 November. If the FDA and CDC make final recommendations in favour of the vaccine roll-out, it will be made available for families days later.
What about children outsde the 5-11 age range?
The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid shot is already approved for those ages 12-17, and is being studied for potential use on those younger than 5.
Do children need the vaccine?
While children have a lower rate of death from Covid, many still face illness and long-term symptoms from the virus and can transmit it.
Are most families expected to get their younger children vaccinated once the shots are available?
Reuters reports that many adults who have been anti-vax, and even some who did not oppose the vaccine for themselves, are expected to resist giving the shot to their children.