The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting now to discuss the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11.
A vote is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET.
If ACIP recommends the vaccines and the CDC director signs off, vaccination could begin immediately for that age group.
Where can kids get vaccines?
The same places they get flu vaccines – their pediatricians’ offices, at local pharmacies and perhaps at some schools.
“This is the pediatrician’s wheelhouse,” Dr. David Kimberlin, who helps lead the pediatric infectious diseases division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN.
“We’re trying to get pediatricians enrolled and that’s a major strategy,” Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, told CNN’s Jacqueline Howard.
One potential pinch point is the smaller dose of vaccine, which means the younger children cannot be given doses in stock for adults and teens.
The kids’ vaccine is expected to be shipped in packages of 100 doses, which is much smaller than the packages of 1,170 doses used for the adult vaccines.
“The fact that they’re moving to smaller packaging and smaller shipping amounts is really great news,” Hannan said. That will be easier for doctors’ offices to manage.
The CDC notes that government websites help people find places to get vaccinated.
“Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you,” the CDC advises.
“I think the real key is to get enough parents interested in having their children vaccinated,” Kimberlin said.
In addition, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the country’s Covid-19 vaccination program for children ages 5 to 11 will be fully up and running next week.
“While vaccinations may start later this week, the program will still be ramping up to its full strength, with millions more doses packed, shipped and delivered and thousands of additional sites coming online each day,” Zients said at a briefing Monday, noting that 15 million doses are being shipped.