SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The CDC officially signs off on the pediatric doses Tuesday evening paving the way for millions of kids 5 to 11 years old to get the COVID-19 shot.
In Arkansas, there are over 270,000 kids in that age group and we can expect vaccinations to begin as early as Wednesday.
The state is receiving nearly 110,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to start. The doses will go to the State Department of Health Units first and the ‘Vaccines for Children’ providers which the ADH tells us most pediatricians are a part of.
After the initial rollout pharmacies and other providers will then get the vaccine. Health leaders are encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated as soon as it is available, adding that it is safe and effective for that age group.
“As the mom of a 10-year-old boy, we want to be first in line to protect my son. I want to make sure he doesn’t get sick and end up in the hospital with us. I want to make sure he doesn’t end up like the many many kids that we know who have long-term effects from COVID-19,” said Dr. Jessica Snowden, Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease with Arkansas Children’s Northwest.
Governor Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas is well prepared to get the vaccine out and make them available for this new age group.
Health leader says there’s been an increase of COVID-19 cases in the state among that age group. More children are also ending up in the hospital and in the ICU because of the delta variant.
“They bored a big part of the brunt of a number of cases that we saw in this summer surge that we saw due to delta and we need to protect them. That is the way to so,” said Dr. Jose Romero,
State Secretary of Health.
“As a doctor, I can talk to you about the data all day long, but I can tell you that every doctor mom I know is very excited at the idea that we can protect our kids,” said Snowden.
The pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine is smaller than the adult dose. The vials are also packaged differently to avoid a mix-up.
Hutchinson says most health units already have vials of the doses. It is recommended that parents call ahead whether they are using the health unit or their pediatrician to make appointments.
Parents who are interested in getting their kids vaccinated can also call the state’s COVID-19 call center at 1-800-803-7847 to find a health unit or provider offering the vaccine near you.