VDH prepositioning COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds starting this week
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Over the next two weeks, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says private providers, like pediatricians, will get about 252,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds. Another 125,000 will be shipped directly to pharmacies.
“It is a different formulation. It’s a third of the dose and a different mix, so those are going to have to be distributed differently,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia Vaccine Coordinator.
Once approved, the state says parents should first seek out the 5 to 11-year-old vaccine through their primary care doctor or pharmacies.
“I’m a mom of a child in this age group and it can’t come fast enough, especially having the little ones at school,” said Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
But, VDH says vaccines will also be available through local health department vaccine clinics and large vaccine clinics like the one at the Richmond Raceway.
“We will be utilizing schools’ communication channels to be able to get the word out there about different vaccine events that we will be having,” said LaWanda Dunn, Richmond - Henrico Health Districts.
Public schools will play a role in the vaccine rollout, but it varies. For example, Richmond Public Schools will offer the vaccine on-site at specific schools, after hours and on weekends, but others may not.
“You really need to check with your school system depending on where in the state you are, if there will be options for school-based vaccinations,” said Dr. Avula.
When approval happens, an estimated 723,000 kids between the ages of 5 and 11 become eligible for the two-dose vaccine.
“It’s never too soon to talk to your child about what’s coming. We know kids often do best when they’re prepared,” said Dr. Kimbrough.
VDH is pre-positioning this vaccine to make sure kids across the state have access to it.
“We, as a local health district, are trying to be equitable in our response by providing vaccine in those areas as well as education. So not just vaccination but education,” said Dunn.
Meanwhile, Avula doesn’t expect a run on child vaccines. VDH relies on national studies indicating that between 30% to 40% of parents are willing to get their 5 to 11-year-olds vaccinated.
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