Milwaukee ready for kids COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Young children may get the COVID vaccine starting Monday. Locally, doses are ordered and vaccine programs are ready. 

After the FDA approved Pfizer's kid vaccine for emergency use authorization, programs for kids ages 5-11 could be in full swing. But here's one more hurdle to be cleared Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to make more detailed recommendations for Pfizer's kid dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with a final decision by the CDC’s director expected shortly afterward.

With her husband Stephen by her side Erin Shih hugs her children Avery 6, and Aidan, 11, after they got their second Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on Friday, June 25, 2021. Avery and Aidan are part of the K

"We are anticipating that tomorrow the CDC and group will approve," said Kirstin Johnson. The city of Milwaukee's health commissioner says the CDC will issue clinical guidance. 

"That usually takes them 24-48 hrs and we have to wait for DHS to come out with their very specific medical guidance and orders," she said.

The pediatric vaccines which are in orange caps to avoid mix-ups with the purple-capped doses for everyone else are preparing to be shipped.

"We are anticipating 7,000 doses just for the Milwaukee Health Department," she said. "We have been training our own staff internally to get ready."

Kirstin Johnson

Unlike adults who are often vaccinated in a mass setting. when it comes to kids ages 5-11, privacy and comfortability are paramount.

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"We’ve given a lot of thought to making sure that we create environments that are more kid friendly," she said. "Kids do cry and it would make them anxious coming into this big space for a lot of people."

The city has more than 60,000 kids ages 5-11 who could be eligible for the shot.

While some parents are eager for a shot at safety, hesitance remains. As only about a third of parents are ready for their kids to be part of the rollout. As a reminder, Johnson says the trials and studies have been vetted. 

Adding the benefits outweigh the risks.

"There are children who have severe complications and there are children have died and there are children who have had long COVID," Johnson said. "Every person who is vaccinated is another person that is protected another person protecting the people around them."

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

Once the CDC issues its ruling, eligible kids will get two shots, three weeks apart.

The health department says it’s partnering with MPS and other schools potentially having vaccines in classrooms and also looking into offering incentives as well.

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