The White House has introduced a plan to get children ages 5 through 11 vaccinated for COVID-19 in advance of expected emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the Pfizer vaccine for kids in that age bracket.
According to reports, the administration has secured enough Pfizer vaccines for 28 million children in the aforementioned age group. The shots would be administered by roughly 25,000 primary care and pediatric providers, the administration said.
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services will work with the Children’s Hospital Association to establish at least 100 vaccine clinics to dole out the jabs, the administration says.
Moreover, the plan calls for tens of thousands of pharmacies around the country to also offer the vaccine, while the White House will also be working to make shots available and hundreds of community centers and schools.
Earlier this month, the White House told governors to expect vaccines for kids 5-to-11 by early November after the administration purchased 65 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough for about 28 million kids in that age range, NBC News reported.
An advisory panel for the FDA will likely meet next week to discuss a request from the makers of the COVID-19 vaccines to authorize their use in children. Pfizer’s vaccine has been available for use in children ages 12 and up since May.
The White House informed providers earlier this month that it could deliver vaccines for kids within a week of the FDA’s approval.
Last month, Pfizer announced that clinical trials indicated its vaccine was safe for kids in the age group and that it provided “robust” antibodies.
“We intend to submit the data by the end of the month and then, of course, it will be up to the FDA to review that data and determine whether the vaccine can be released for broad use,” said Dr. Bill Gruber, a pediatrician who is also the pharmaceutical company’s senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development, in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show. “We hope that will go expeditiously.”
As the pharmaceutical companies press the government to approve their vaccines for children under 12, there is a movement within the country’s public school districts to mandate them. Last month, the first to do so was the Los Angeles Unified School District, which mandated that kids 12 and over get the jab.
“It seems to me that the safest way to protect children under 12 is for as many people as possible to be vaccinated, said Jackie Goldberg, a board member during the meeting before the vote.
“So I do not see this as your choice or my choice or about my great-nieces and nephews and grandchildren or your children. I see this as a community necessity to protect the children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated,” Goldberg added, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The district opened the current academic year with some of the strictest COVID requirements in the country. They include weekly testing of students and staff, mask mandates indoors and outdoors, and vaccine mandates for employees.
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