Virginia’s vaccine leader says appointments for 5- to 11-year-olds available soon
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia vaccine leader Dr. Danny Avula hosted a phone call with reporters Wednesday explaining the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
Tuesday night, the CDC adopted a recommendation to move forward with the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for children in this age range, making available a modified version of the vaccine that is one third the adult dose.
Dr. Avula said Virginia is prepared to begin vaccinating children within days. Initially, 377,000 doses will be delivered to the Commonwealth over the coming week.
That means there will be doses available to at least half of the eligible population, which totals 723,000 children.
“To have more than 50 percent of that vaccine available to us in this first week is great news and we will continue to receive more vaccine each week moving forward,” Avula said.
Of those, 252,000 doses will go to doctors, health departments, and other providers. Pharmacies will receive the remaining 125,000 through the Federal Pharmacy Retail Program.
“I really do think the supply is going to more than meet the current demand for 5- to 11s in this first week,” said Dr. Avula. “It just may be a few days before you see the appointment availability pop up but it should come very shortly.”
Dr. Avula said his team developed a new pathway for appointment registration, but that parents and guardians will still be able to sign up through vaccinate.virginia.gov.
It may take a day or two for appointments to begin to appear.
You can also contact your doctor and local pharmacy directly to schedule an appointment.
He said the state is also working to distribute vaccines geographically on a weighted system, sending supply to where they believe it will be needed the most, taking notes from vaccine interest in the young adolescent population.
Dr. Avula said clinical trials showed that side effects for children receiving this vaccine were largely consistent with what they see for older children, except less severe and less frequent.
He knows parents might be concerned about myocarditis, but said that is only seen in about 35 to 45 cases out of a million.
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