Pediatricians, health departments prepare to vaccinate kids 5-11

Kids COVID-19 vaccines
Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 17:14:26-04

ANNE ARUNDEL CO, Md. — A CDC advisory committee is expected to vote to recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 5 to 11, paving the way for Emergency Use Authorization by the end of the week.

Millions of child-size doses have already shipped out, and Maryland health professionals are getting ready, but they’ll be dealing with a limited supply in the first weeks.

“We anticipate that it will take 3-4 weeks for supply to match demand,” said Dr. Nilesh Kalayanaraman, the Anne Arundel County Health Officer.

He expects to have enough for about 25% of kids in the first week.

They plan to offer appointments for a vaccine clinic Friday as soon as the CDC director signs off on the recommendation, which is expected by Thursday.

“Appointments are going to be released at two separate times to ensure that everyone has a chance to sign up for a vaccine,” said Dr. Kalayanaraman.

Over the next few weeks, they will have clinics at 24 elementary schools

“It’s how we can make it easy for parents to get their kids vaccinated and do it in a comfortable space in schools,” said Dr. Kalayanaraman.

Pediatricians offices are also getting ready.

“We’ve got several members of our staff reserved just for the next week or 2 for giving shots,” said Dr. Monique Soileau-Burke, a pediatrician at Pediatric Center in Columbia.

According to Dr. Soileau-Burke, who is also the vice president of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 70% of doctors have registered to be allowed to administer the covid-19 vaccine to 5 through 11 year olds, with more anticipated to sign on soon.

“It is a very special thing when you’re giving a vaccine to a child and so that’s why I think most parents are going to feel most comfortable in the pediatricians office where they’ve always gotten their vaccines,” said Dr. Soileau-Burke.

It comes as children now make up a disproportionate number of new COVID-19 cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics — accounting for a quarter of all the new cases last week.

Dr. Soileau-Burke said while most kids do not develop severe symptoms, COVID ha also impacted their development.

“They’ve lost so much of their excitement with childhood and school and extracurricular activities and spending time with family and I really see this as a way for them to all get their lives back,” said Dr. Soileau-Burke.

Health officials said appointments may go quickly, so after authorization, be on the lookout for information for your local health department or get in touch with your child’s pediatrician to see if, when and how they’ll be administering shots.