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WH Has Vaccines Ready to Roll for Kids 5-11

Biden administration unveils plan for inoculating younger children once FDA, CDC give OK
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2021 9:03 AM CDT
WH Has Vaccines Ready to Roll for Kids 5-11
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Vadym Terelyuk)

(Newser) – "Another major milestone" is on the horizon in the fight against COVID, and this time it centers on some of our youngest Americans. CNN reports that the Biden administration has enough vaccine doses for the 28 million children in the US who are ages 5 to 11, as a preemptive setup for vaccinating that demographic. The roadmap for how to do so has been put on deck so that once the FDA and CDC give the green light for that age group to receive the vaccine, it can be "quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country," per a Wednesday White House release.

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Axios notes that an independent FDA advisory panel is set to meet Tuesday to discuss authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the 5-11 age set, with the CDC's counterpart scheduled to gather the following week on recommendations for a pediatric dose. The New York Times notes, however, that there will be some big differences in the vaccination plan for younger children. At 10 micrograms, the doses will be a third smaller than the adult-sized versions. The vials the vaccine comes in, as well as the needles used to administer the two-shot regimen, will also be in mini form.

And parents won't be dragging their little ones to mass vaccination sites as they may have done for themselves or older children. Instead, the vaccine will be available at more than 25,000 pediatrician or primary care offices and tens of thousands of other sites, including pharmacies, children's hospitals, school and rural health clinics, and community health centers. The objective: Keep children calm and the tears from flowing by giving the shots in familiar places and with little hassle. "We don't want lines of kids," Sonya Bernstein, a senior policy adviser for the White House's COVID response team, tells the Times.

"We know millions of parents who've been waiting," and once the OK is given, "we will be ready to get shots in arms," Jeff Zients, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, said in a Wednesday morning press briefing, per CNBC. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services will be in charge of public outreach to make sure parents and other caretakers have "accurate and culturally responsive information about the vaccine and the risks that COVID-19 poses to children," per the White House release. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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