CDC clears way for COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued recommendations to healthcare providers for vaccinating 5-11 year olds against COVID-19. The recommendation clears the way to begin vaccinating the nearly 366,000 Utah children in this age group who are now eligible.

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) last week ordered an initial shipment of 109,000 pediatric doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and will also begin placing weekly orders this week. The doses are shipped directly to healthcare providers and have already started arriving in their offices. 

Providers like local health departments, pharmacies and doctor’s offices will begin offering vaccinations over the next several days. Appointments are already being scheduled at some local health departments and are expected to be widely available at other providers by November 8. 

A complete list of vaccine providers is available on the state’s coronavirus web page. Parents should check this site often, or call their child’s doctor’s office or pharmacy, or their local health department for detailed information on scheduling a vaccination.

“We strongly encourage healthcare providers to familiarize themselves with the CDC recommendations around pediatric COVID-19 vaccine administration and begin immunizing these children immediately,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, a pediatrician and UDOH deputy director. “Doctors, and especially pediatricians, will play a critical role in vaccinating this population. We expect doctors will proactively reach out to their patients with the information they need to make the decision to vaccinate their children.” 

The UDOH is also launching a public awareness campaign with television commercials, digital videos, radio commercials, social media advertising, and outdoor advertising encouraging parents to seek out information about the vaccine. Campaign materials are  available here.

“Both the CDC and the FDA have determined Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 in children,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, also a pediatrician and the state epidemiologist at the UDOH. “Although hospitalization among kids is rare, there have been many kids between the ages of 5-11 who have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19. I think we can all agree, this is tragic. We need to keep kids out of the hospital and now we can through vaccination. I really want to encourage parents to go get their kids vaccinated, not only will it protect the child but also all the people around them.”

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