Local health departments prepare for child vaccine rollout

Local News

The FDA has officially given emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, causing parents to have serious conversations about whether or not to vaccinate their kids.

Local 4’s Kalani Bowles spoke with Public Health Administrator Nita Ludwig over the weekend, who says the Rock Island County Health Department is gearing up for its child vaccine rollout.

“Frankly, it’s kind of the news we were expecting as we do expect the Centers for Disease Control to also align with that same authorization by sometime next week,” said Ludwig.

According to Pfizer, the vaccine will be about one-third as powerful as the one given to adults and initially will be very limited in distribution.

Ludwig says the county has already ordered a limited amount of vaccine doses.

“We were limited to 300 doses for the first order, and then once that’s shipped to all the enrolled providers in the area, then we can start ordering more as we need it,” said Ludwig.

While many parents are wondering how they even get their child a dose, Ludwig says her office has already begun making preparations for when the time comes.

“We’ll be using our downstairs clinic, so it will be downstairs and a little bit separated from our adult clinic,” said Ludwig. “The pharmacies, the pediatrician offices and other healthcare providers are also enrolled and able to give COVID-19 vaccines.”

Ludwig says the efficacy of the vaccine seems promising.

“Data from Pfizer shows that the efficacy of the children’s Pfizer vaccination is up to 91%,” said Ludwig.

The real trick may be convincing parents. According to the Associated Press, only about a quarter are saying they will get the vaccine for their children.

“If you could protect your kids about 90% from COVID-19 once they’re fully vaccinated, I think that’s great,” said Ludwig. “They can enjoy all the birthdays, holidays, etc.”

The CDC is expected to start its authorization process on Tuesday.

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