ELLISVILLE, Mo. – The Centers for Disease Control is expanding the use of COVID vaccines to millions of children. An independent advisory panel on Tuesday approved Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5 through 11.
About 15 million doses are already being packed and shipped to vaccination sites across the country. The White House said the vaccination program is expected to be fully operational next Monday.
With the green light coming from the CDC panel, the shots could begin being administered right away. Younger children would receive one-third of the dose authorized for Americans 12 and older. The shots would be delivered by smaller needles.
St. Louis-area school districts are already preparing to administer that dose for younger kids. They have scheduled clinics at the schools.
The Rockwood School District has tentatively scheduled two clinics at Crestview Middle School on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days. The vaccine will be given voluntarily but children under age 18 must have parental consent.
“The goal here is to get as many people vaccinated as we can and we’re encouraging that so that we can keep kids healthy and our staff healthy, and eventually move toward reducing mitigation measures like perhaps masks becoming optional with numbers decreasing in the area and more people getting vaccinated,” said Amy Wehr, an RN and supervisor for Rockwood School District’s Wellness and Health Services.
Other districts in the area are making tentative plans for vaccine clinics for the younger kids. About 28 million children ages 5 to 11 nationwide are eligible to receive the Pfizer pediatric dose of the COVID vaccine.
We should be hearing from more districts and area health care systems this week about setting up vaccination clinics for the younger kids.