Coronavirus

Here’s when Massachusetts expects to have COVID-19 vaccine doses for children aged 5-11

Officials say that sign-up information could be available as soon as next week.

This October 2021 photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer via AP

Federal officials are set to begin meetings next week on the expected expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to children between the ages of 5 and 11, and officials in Massachusetts say it won’t be long before they have the doses on hand.

Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary, told legislators during a hearing Thursday that officials expect to get about 360,000 doses of Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine between Oct. 28 and no later than Nov. 5, according to the State House News Service.

Official approval of the vaccine for children 5 to 11 could come when a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel meets on Nov. 2-3, if the Food and Drug Administration signs off on the move during a meeting next week. Federal officials are planning to ship the pediatric vaccine doses, as well as smaller needles for injecting younger children, to states across the country within hours of the CDC’s recommendation, according to the Associated Press.

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Pfizer reported Friday that its trials showed that its pediatric vaccine — a dose of 10 micrograms, compared to the 30-microgram dose given to adults — was 90.7 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in children 5 to 11. Similar to its vaccine for those over the age of 12, the vaccine would be administered in two doses spaced roughly 21 days apart.

Federal approval would expand vaccine eligibility to more than a half million children — 515,000, to be exact — aged 5 to 11 in Massachusetts.

According to the State House News Service, health care providers will get half of the state’s initial 360,000-dose allotment and retail pharmacies that have partnered with the federal government to administer the vaccine will get the other half. Sudders reportedly said she hopes 90 percent of those doses will be administered within 90 days. According to the State House News Service, she said that 289 health care providers with hundreds of locations in Massachusetts have sought to reserve pediatric doses.

After the initial shipment, providers will then order additional pediatric vaccine doses directly from the federal government.

State officials are also planning mobile vaccination programs and school-based clinics located across Massachusetts.

Sudders said more information on how parents could sign up their children to get the vaccine will be available next week. She also said there’ll be a mix of appointment-based slots and walk-ins.

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“We will be relying on these many, many partnerships that we’ve already established — both schools, pharmacies, community health centers, and, most importantly, pediatricians and parents — to get children the vaccines that they need and to make sure that everyone in Massachusetts is vaccinated because that is our strongest way out of this pandemic,” Margret Cooke, the state’s acting public health commissioner, said.

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