COVID Vaccines For 5 to 11-Year-Old Children: Roll-Out in CT Expected to Begin in November
On October 27, the Food and Drug Administration’s independent advisory group recommended that the Pfizer-BioNTech application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 through 11 be approved.
On October 27, the Food and Drug Administration’s independent advisory group recommended that the Pfizer-BioNTech application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 through 11 be approved. Currently, only children 12 years of age and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
On October 29, the FDA accepted the recommendations and issued an EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 through 11:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent advisory group, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet on November 2 and 3 to issue its own independent recommendations related to the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 through 11
- The CDC Director will likely accept the ACIP’s recommendations
- If all recommendations and approvals go smoothly, Connecticut will begin administration of COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 through 11 on Thursday, November 4
“The approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children 5–11 marks a major step forward in the overall COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. An authorized vaccine for nearly all school-aged children will help keep schools open and safe. Although children generally have mild cases of COVID-19, some do get sick,” the CT Department of Public Health stated in a press release.
They also highlighted that ensuring high rates of vaccine coverage among all school-aged children will have many benefits. Vaccinated children are not required to quarantine if exposed to the virus; high rates of coverage can also help to reduce rates of transmission within school settings, and vaccinating children provides another layer of protection for their families and the broader community.
Children and families will have many options for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, including:
- Pediatricians: Hundreds of pediatricians will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across the State of Connecticut. However, not all pediatricians will have the COVID-19 vaccine, so if your child’s provider doesn’t offer the COVID-19 vaccine, please refer to one of the other options provided.
- Pharmacies: There will be hundreds of pharmacy locations that will offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children, including many CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, and other pharmacy chains across the state, as well as independent pharmacies. Pharmacies provide a safe, convenient, and easy location to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Pharmacies have rolled out specialized trainings for their pharmacist staff to provide vaccines for younger children.
- School-based clinics: The Department of Public Health and the Connecticut State Department of Education are collaborating to offer on-site clinics at schools across the State of Connecticut. These will either be led by school-based health centers or special mobile teams specifically trained to offer vaccines for younger children. Information about such clinics will be provided by schools or districts directly.
- Other locations: In addition to the above, several health systems and local health departments will be offering COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5–11.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the panel’s decision comes at a pivotal moment in the pandemic, when schools have reopened, and the highly contagious Delta variant remains a threat. September was the worst month for new COVID-19 cases and deaths among children in the United States.
Thomas Murray, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist, stated that in addition to protecting children from COVID-19, the vaccine offers another layer of protection to close family members and contacts who may have immune problems or who may be at higher risk for severe complications of the disease.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 1.1 million new cases were recorded in September alone. For the week of October 14, there were more than 148,000 new cases, with children accounting for about a quarter of all new cases in the country.
“In general, younger kids do not get as sick as adults. But, throughout the course of the pandemic, we have had a number of children in our intensive care unit from COVID-related complications,” says Dr. Murray. “If we can prevent those, that is a huge win.”
And with kids back in classrooms, parents are often wondering if a case of the sniffles is seasonal allergies, a cold, the flu, or COVID-19.
“We are seeing many cases of respiratory viruses right now, including younger children who are hospitalized for those viruses. Taking COVID off the table as a potential diagnosis would help immensely,” Dr. Murray says.
The CT Department of Public Health also emphasizes that individuals 12 and older are currently eligible and highly encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if they have not already. Roughly 90 percent of Connecticut’s population 12-and-older has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and this high rate of coverage is what has allowed Connecticut to stay open.
In addition, people are encouraged to review the latest information about booster doses. Everyone 65 and older, and everyone who received the J&J vaccine, should receive a COVID-19 booster dose, and many individuals 18-64 who received Pfizer or Moderna are also eligible to receive a booster.
For up-to-date information on the vaccine roll out, or to search for a convenient location near you to find a vaccine for you and/or your child, visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.