COVID-19 vaccine for children to be ready later this week

Health care providers and other coronavirus vaccine distributors in Wisconsin say they could have doses that are ready to be administered to younger children by the end of the week.

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, a special advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was to meet to consider recommendations for administering the Pfizer vaccine to younger children. The Food and Drug Administration has already cleared the shots. 

After CDC advisers make their recommendations, agency director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will give the final order.

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The White House says the government has enough of the Pfizer vaccine for all 28 million children in the 5-11 age group. There are about 500,000 children in Wisconsin who will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s approved.

Milwaukee County’s chief health policy advisor, Dr. Ben Weston, says doses could be available as early as the evening of Nov. 3, though he said Nov. 4 was more likely, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Coronavirus vaccines

Coronavirus vaccines

Anticipating a green light from vaccine advisers, the Biden administration is already assembling and shipping millions of COVID-19 shots for children, the White House said Monday.

In the coming days, we will see clear guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health Services, with local health officials indicating they're awaiting that guidance from DHS.

Children’s Wisconsin officials are encouraging parents to sign kids up immediately to grab a spot and get their shot. Fifteen out of the 28 million doses were already shipped to health care providers and pharmacies across the country. 

"We are so happy," said Marwa Bakr, Infinity Pharmacy in Milwaukee.

Bakr said Infinity Pharmacy received 300 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11.

"The kids' vial contains 10 doses, while the adults' contains six doses," said Bakr. "It’s also color-coded."

The pediatric vaccines, which have orange caps to avoid mix-ups with the purple-capped doses for everyone else, are one-third of the dose given to people ages 12 years and older.

"The kids', just, once you receive it, you can store in the fridge temperature for 10 weeks," said Bakr. "Reduces the waste of the vaccine."

Additionally, a smaller needle is used.  Regardless of where a child goes to get the shot, doctors want parents to be informed.  

"The most important thing is you come and talk to someone you trust, and that’s your physician and we are the ones who can give you the best medical data," said a Children's Wisconsin doctor. "We can show you the reasons why we think this vaccine is going to be so important, and we were collaborating with our parents to try to come, for the best time frame for when they want to vaccinate their children."

Kids will get two shots, three weeks apart.  On Tuesday, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices spent all day long combing through the data, getting public comment and ultimately deciding the benefits outweigh the risks and effects of contracting COVID.

"Long-term effects are common, including trouble concentrating, shortness of breath, fatigue," said a Children's Wisconsin doctor. "We’ve seen over 5 million children infected with COVID in our country and 791 deaths."

Studies show Pfizer's kid-sized doses are nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

While some pharmacies are taking walk-ins Children's is also partnering with the Milwaukee Health Department.  Beginning Monday, Nov. 8, MHD is partnering with select Milwaukee Public Schools to host vaccine clinics for children ages 5 to 11 years old. That full schedule should be announced by Thursday. 

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