Contra Costa County Health Services expects to receive about 20,000 doses of the pediatric vaccine early this week. Here’s what to know.
Thousands of pediatric doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine have been ordered by Contra Costa Health Services as the county prepares for federal and state health officials to expand eligibility to schoolchildren 5-11 years old.
“I know a lot of parents have been waiting a long time to be able to get their younger kids vaccinated,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “We’re almost there. If everything goes right, parents will be able to get their children fully vaccinated before the winter holidays.”
The exact timing of when the vaccine becomes available to younger children depends on when federal and state officials complete their review process. On Friday, the Food & Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5-11. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to decide this week whether to recommend Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine next week for children ages 5-11. The CDC’s recommendation is required before vaccines can be given to this age group.
Contra Costa Health Services expects to receive about 20,000 doses of the pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine early this week for use by county and partner health clinics and is prepared to start offering the vaccine Nov. 6 at county-run vaccination clinics.
Local health care providers and pharmacies are also stocking up and getting ready, the county said.
The county is also working with education and healthcare partners in the region — including John Muir Health, Kaiser, La Clinica and Lifelong Medical — to host vaccine clinics at school sites once eligibility expands to younger kids.
“We will be announcing more details about school-based vaccine clinics soon,” county health officials said Monday morning.
Parents can also check with their child’s regular healthcare provider or local pharmacies about availability.
There are an estimated 92,000 children between 5 and 11 years old living in Contra Costa County.
“Initial demand for the pediatric vaccine is expected to be high as eager parents seek protection for their children,” county health officials said.
Contra Costa County has a high vaccination nation rate among its eligible residents.
About 87 percent of Contra Costa County residents ages 12-15 — currently the youngest group eligible for coronavirus vaccination — have received at least one dose of vaccine.
If the CDC recommends the vaccine this week for the younger age group, it may take a couple of days until immunization clinics actually begin administering the pediatric vaccines.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, a regional collaborative of scientists from several states including California with expertise in immunization and public health, must also weigh in after the CDC makes its decision.
The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is one-third the dosage given to teens and adults and will come in different vials and packaging than the adult version. As with adults, children ages 5-11 still must get two shots at least three weeks apart to get the maximum protection of the vaccine — which was shown to have a 90.7 percent efficacy rate in clinical trials among this age group.
This article was first published in Patch.