Area public health departments begin vaccines for kids 5 to 11

Photo of Jacob Dick
Kaysen Vandewerken, 8, right, and her mother Megan Vandewerken sit and wait after Kaysen is being administered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years at Lurie Children's hospital Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. Health officials hailed shots for kids ages 5 to 11 as a major breakthrough after more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, deaths and disrupted education. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Kaysen Vandewerken, 8, right, and her mother Megan Vandewerken sit and wait after Kaysen is being administered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years at Lurie Children's hospital Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. Health officials hailed shots for kids ages 5 to 11 as a major breakthrough after more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, deaths and disrupted education. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)Nam Y. Huh, STF / Associated Press

Parents can now make COVID-19 vaccine appointments with local public health departments for their children between 5 and 11 years old.

The Beaumont and Port Arthur health departments plan on administering Pfizer vaccines to children in the newly-approved age range starting Wednesday.

Parents in Beaumont can make an appointment with their local health department by phone, and residents in Port Arthur will have access to vaccination from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Texas Artist’s Museum.

“The Port Arthur Health Department commits to administer vaccines to as many residents as possible to develop a ‘herd immunity’ community,” representatives with the department wrote in a statement. “Having most, or all, of its citizens protected against COVID-19 and its variants will help Port Arthur and surrounding communities regain a ‘close to normal’ daily life.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Nov. 2 that further research and the statistical risk for children to become infected with Delta variants of COVID-19 led the agency’s advisory committee to expand the recommended age range for the Pfizer vaccine.

“We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics almost immediatly endorsed the CDC’s recommendation, advising that any child over the age of five receive a COVID-19 vaccine, especially if they have previously contracted the virus.

So far, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been approved for children 5 to 11, but other brands may also receive the same recommendation if their efficacy and safety meet the same standards that the CDC’s advisory committee considered when making their recommendation.

When the U.S. Federal Drug Administration made a similar recommendation for Pfizer at the end of October, it reported that immune response for younger children appeared to be the same as people between 16 and 25 years old.

Based on its study of around 3,100 children in that age range, the FDA found the Pfizer vaccine to be 90.7% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections and didn’t present any serious side effects in the subjects of the study.

With the new recommendation, databases will now include children 5 to 11 in counts for vaccination status.

As of Friday, over 47% of resident in Jefferson County over the age of 5 were fully vaccinated.

jacob.dick@whlhjz.com

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