State, Pima County prepare for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - President Joe Biden announced the US has purchased enough vaccine doses to immunize all kids ages 5 through 11 in the nation against COVID-19. Experts in the state and Pima County said this is a big deal when it comes to community spread for Arizona.

Following the CDC’s decision in early November, those kids will likely have the chance to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The state and Pima county said they are ready to dole out the vaccines quickly after.

“It’ll be pretty quick after that because we are able to preposition some inventory from ADHS,” said Crystal Rambaud the immunization program manager with the Pima County Health Department.

Pima County said there are about 88,000 kids in the new eligible age-range. Pediatricians, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and more will be administering the vaccine. ADHS said more than 900 providers have already onboarded to give it. While millions of doses have been given out to older Arizonans, doctors lament young kids can and are still spreading the virus to vulnerable loved ones.

“This is very important not just for the health of children ages 5 through 11, but because of the delta variant those kids are shown to be increasingly contagious,” said Dr. Sean Elliott, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases.

The state says they will likely get an initial shipment of about 225,000 pediatric Pfizer shots, which will be given out to individual counties and providers. This shot will be the same vaccine, but a little different for little kids.

“Their immune systems are very young, not immature per se, but very young and they respond differently to doses than adults,” Elliott said.

This dose of the Pfizer vaccine will have a third of medicine inside, making it more suitable for small children.

“We feel very confident this is safe, it’s going to be a healthy and good intervention for our kids,” said Rambaud.

County officials urge parents get their kids the flu vaccine this year, and even at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccine if possible. Once vaccinations are available for the younger kids, ADHS will have all providers listed here.

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