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Kansas City doctors say it's a 'great time' for kids ages 5-11 years old to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Colorful bandages may be in order for youth as COVID-19 vaccinations have now been approved for children ages 5 to 11.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Colorful bandages may be in order as COVID-19 vaccinations have now been recommended by the FDA for children ages 5-11 years old.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been recommended for children ages 5-11 years old by an FDA advisory board, and area hospitals are preparing to distribute it. 

An advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control will consider the recommendation early next month, and children ages 5-11 years old could start receiving Pfizer's vaccine against COVID-19 as early as Nov. 5. Doctors at Children’s Mercy answered questions parents may have about the vaccination plan.

Do doctors anticipate supply chain issues during the rollout of  the children’s vaccine like those experienced by adults when the vaccine first became available? 

Children’s Mercy Chief Emergency Management Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Watts said, “The supply has changed a lot. At this point, we've got vaccine all over the place. Now, this is a different vial, we are not using the same vials that the adult dosing came in. So the vials are different, but that supply is more plentiful at this point than it was when the vaccine first came out to the adult population.”

According to Dr. Watts, Children’s Mercy has ordered 2,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for children 5-11 years old and plans to order more at the end of the week.

Where will the vaccine be offered? 

Dr. Watts said the vaccine for young children will be available at a number of places like pharmacies or vaccine clinic events, but she recommends that parents take children to their pediatrician for the vaccination.

“This is what pediatricians do," Watts said. "All the routine childhood immunizations that we provide are provided at their pediatrician's office. And so really the pediatrician's offices are the experts at administering vaccines. We do give some vaccines at Children's Mercy, but the majority of them are given in the primary care offices.”

Can kids get their flu vaccine or other scheduled vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Dr. Angela Myers, who is the Division Director of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy, explained, “What has been said so far is that it's okay to give other vaccines with the COVID-19 vaccines. We will see if there's any changes to that based on the EUA and then the ACIP recommendations that hopefully will come out next week, but this was addressed back when the adolescent vaccine first came out in May. It was okay to be also giving the adolescent vaccine series.”

What’s your message for parents?

“My message to parents is that this is a really great time,” said Myers. “I know that there are concerns among some people … [there’s] the eager group, and then there's always a group that's a little bit more skeptical or wants to take their time considering, and that's completely understandable. It will be wonderful when the data comes out over the next week to be able to see exactly how effective the vaccine is at preventing disease, hospitalization, and deaths of children. Even though fewer children get very sick with COVID and get hospitalized or die, it still happens."

Updated: October 26, 2021 at 8:11 PM CDT
Corrected: October 26, 2021 at 8:11 PM CDT
Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga reports on health disparities in access and health outcomes in both rural and urban areas.
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