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Pediatric offices, parents prepare for vaccine decision for children ages 5-11

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:12 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - In preparation for the potential authorization of COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11, the federal government has given states an initial idea of the number of vaccine doses they will receive based on their populations.

A number of pediatric offices in North Carolina could be part of “wave 1,″ receiving doses in order to vaccinate children.

Parents in Pitt County are still divided on the topic.

Some say they don’t think there has been enough research, while others say they will be first in line to get their children vaccinated when it’s available.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services sent out memos to providers Tuesday, asking them if they wanted to be a part of “wave 1″ of vaccine distribution in children ages 5 to 11.

According to the DHHS, pediatric vaccines are rolling out in staggered amounts by the federal government in 3 waves to make sure distribution is fast and equitable.

The DHHS notes the federal government said they will have enough vaccine supply to meet the need to be administered over several weeks.

In wave 1, North Carolina will receive 124,500 doses of pediatric Pfizer vaccines, which is said to be a lesser dose than what adults get.

The vials will look different than adult vials do too, with an orange-colored cap rather than a purple one.

The DHHS says that the storage of the pediatric vaccines will be slightly different than the regular Pfizer vaccine.

Ultra-cold freezers are not necessary, according to Pfizer’s preliminary plan, which also says the pediatric vaccine will be able to be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 weeks.

Pirate Pediatrics in Greenville says there has been urgency from some parents to get their children vaccinated.

“That demand is out there and we want to make sure families know it is available and will become available for those younger kids too,” Nathan Morgan, practice manager at Pirate Pediatrics said.

Pending FDA and CDC action, pediatric vaccination could begin after Nov. 3.

The FDA’s advisory committee has meetings scheduled for next week to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a Pfizer vaccine dose for children ages 5 through 11 years old.

The DHHS says that vaccine doses cannot be given to children ages 5 to 11 until the CDC has made its recommendation and that recommendation is accepted by the CDC director.

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is set to meet on Nov. 2nd and 3rd with the CDC’s formal approval/recommendation expected shortly after that.

The DHHS says if and when the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children 5-11, the best way for families and parents to get their children vaccinated will be to visit MySpot.nc.gov or call 888-675-4567.

They can also text their zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations near them.

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