MILWAUKEE - Health experts say we are getting much closer to children ages 5-11 being able to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
After 19 months, children as young as 5 years old could soon have a shot at protection amid the coronavirus pandemic with Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine.
"This is an exciting time as far as pediatric vaccines go," said Dr. Margaret Hennessy. "The dose of the vaccine will be a third of the doses compared to what the rest of us have gotten."
The Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss emergency use authorization for children ages 5-11. Then the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet on Nov. 2 and 3.
Dr. Hennessy said jurisdictions should be ready to vaccinate shortly thereafter, pending FDA authorization and CDC recommendations.
"That’s all exciting news," said Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul.
State officials are eager about the latest developments.
"That will be a huge help for us," said Evers and Kaul.
This vaccine could play a huge role when it comes to education.
"I am eager for my kids to be able to get vaccinated," said Evers and Kaul. "It will help keep them safer. It will help keep their classmates safer. It’s going to help keep our schools open."
Preparations have already begun.
"We are starting our internal planning processes that will be necessary to both prepare and deliver the vaccine to the community," said Heather Paradis, Milwaukee Health Department. "We do anticipate continuing to host a variety of sessions throughout schools in Milwaukee.
Paradis estimated there are about 90,000 kids in this age group in Milwaukee County alone.
"As a community, we are planning for a little surge of maybe 20,000 to 30,000 individuals who might be seeking vaccination within the first several weeks after authorization be available and offered in multiple settings," said Paradis.
Health officials say pre-orders should be available soon, and the CDC has released a Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Operational Planning Guide. As rollouts are being planned at health care providers and clinics, there will also be a website to check for providers and availability.