For families with mixed-vaxx occupants who have struggled navigating re-opening public spaces with younger children who are still ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines, the timeline for getting all their kids fully dosed is something they are eagerly awaiting. Luckily, we may be closing in on a timeline with the latest drop from the White House about distribution of vaccines to kids age 5 to 11 — with expectations of when children in that age range can get appointments, information on the doses available and how they will be allocated and more.
“In anticipation of the FDA’s independent advisory committee meeting on October 26 and the CDC’s independent advisory committee meeting on November 2-3, today the Biden Administration is announcing a plan to ensure that, if a vaccine is authorized for children ages 5-11, it is quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country,” per the fact sheet published by the Biden administration on Wednesday. “The start of a vaccination program for children ages five to 11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation. These steps will be critical in ensuring that we are staying ahead of the virus by keeping kids and families safe, especially those at highest risk.”
Per the statement, pending the FDA’s emergency-use authorization approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the demo, the plan will begin going into effect similarly to the process for kids and teens 12 and over — with the vaccine packaging for the doses “available in smaller configurations that will make it easier for physicians’ offices and other smaller, community-based providers to offer the vaccine to kids and their families.”
With roughly 28 million children ages five to 11 years old to vaccinate, officials say that they’ll see vaccination clinics at hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, community health centers, school and community-based sites — with more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care provider sites providing the shots.
The fact sheet also reiterates the importance of spreading the word on getting more of our population fully vaccinated to resume normal life and to keep kids healthy from potentially harmful side-effects: “Millions of adolescents ages 12-17 have been safely vaccinated, and we know vaccines work. Fully vaccinated individuals are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and have a high degree of protection, including against the Delta variant. The consequences of a pediatric COVID-19 case can be serious and potentially last months.”
As SheKnows has previously reported, pediatricians are eager to see younger children be able to access the vaccine and hope to provide evidence-based information for parents who may have questions about the efficacy, safety and necessity of getting their kids the shot.
“While cases are rarer, children can still transmit COVID-19 and even become very ill. Vaccinating children will help protect the people they spend most time around, like parents, grandparents and teachers who may not just be more vulnerable but immunocompromised,” as Dr. Robert L. Quigley M.D., an immunologist specializing in infectious disease and Global Medical Director of International SOS told SheKnows. “The number of cases is likely much higher as many infected were either asymptomatic and/or never tested. For this reason alone, there is a justification to immunize them all.”
Before you go, check out our favorite all-natural cold products for kids: