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This is a good week for vaccine news! First, we heard that the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters got the greenlight. Plus, we can mix brands making it easier to get our boosters. Now we’re hearing that we are just weeks away from the vaccine for 5-11 year olds getting FDA approval for emergency use. Well, we knew that, Hecate, some of you may be saying. But get this – the Biden administration already has a plan in place to roll these vaccines out. They current White House has purchased enough doses that as soon as the FDA gives them the thumbs up, they are ready to get it out to all eligible children, so millions of parents and teachers can rest a little easier at night.
With the FDA and CDC expected to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in kids aged 5 to 11 in the next few weeks, the Biden administration has laid out their plan for getting this youngest age group inoculated.
The Biden administration said Wednesday that as soon as the vaccine is approved for use, they will make it available at more than 25,000 pediatrician offices and primary care facilities, more than 100 children’s hospitals and at pharmacies and schools.
The White House said that they have purchased enough vaccine doses to inoculate the 28 million kids aged 5 to 11 years old in the U.S. The doses, though, will be smaller, as will the needles, to better suit the younger kids.
“Kids have different needs than adults and our operational planning is geared to meet those specific needs, including by offering vaccinations in settings that parents and kids are familiar with and trust,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday.
A September poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that just 34% of parents with kids aged 5 to 11 said they intended to vaccinate their kids as soon as the shot is available for use.
In a statement, Dr. Gerald Harmon, the president of the American Medical Association said that they “encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 once vaccines are authorized and recommended for use in this population.”
I’m using a jovial tone to this post because I am genuinely giddy about this news. Think way back into the dark ages of 2020 when The Other Guy was president, and scientists were working on the vaccine. Nothing was done to prepare or implement a roll out once it arrived. As a result, the vaccine arrived and everything fell apart. And the country got sicker. Now we have an administration that took over a completely botched vaccine distribution, fixed it, and set up a plan that could have protected the US within a year. It was so efficient, that timeline was shortened to half a year. The fact that so many chose not to take advantage of that free, life-saving option is still baffling.
The vaccines make a difference. They are working to keep numbers low and to keep cases less severe. The peace of mind they provide is immeasurable. I just finished texting with my college roommate. His kids, who are under 10 years old, go to a small private school in Northern California. He was telling me about the school’s closures (multiple) due to breakout cases and his friends who’ve caught Covid from their kids who brought it home. My vaccinated kids in public school have yet to have a case reported in their school. None of their friends or parents have gotten sick and a few of them work in hospitals. I don’t worry about my kids once I send them off knowing they’re vaccinated and the mask policy is being enforced. I hope the 5-11 vaccine gets here soon for the parents of those children. I’m delighted but not surprised that this White House is completely ready once it’s approved. Hopefully, by the time the vaccine starts arriving, that 34% of parents who plan to protect their children will be a much higher number.
Photo credit: Getty Images and Rodnae and Janko Ferlic from Pexels
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