Rhode Island prepared for 5 to 11 year old vaccine approval

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available to children ages 5-11.

An FDA Advisory Committee will discuss authorization Tuesday, meaning states are preparing now to roll out the shot.

“We are going full steam ahead to make sure that everyone who wants a shot has access to a shot,” Dr. Philip Chan with the R.I. Department of Health.

The approval would mean shots in the arms of up to 80,000 children in Rhode Island as soon as early next month. Families will have access to four different avenues to get the shot, including state-run clinics, community clinics, schools, and pediatricians.

Dr. Chan says out of 134 pediatric and family medicine practices in the state, 81 are ready to go and others are not far behind. Supply may be limited at first and the Department of Health is asking families to remain patient.

“We’re going to have some limited supplies initially as the production process ramps up as it did back in December November,” Dr. Chan said. “We do expect that supplies will be adequate and the supply chain will be good after a few weeks.”

The shot is not only set to provide a strong layer of immunity against the virus, but is also set to keep kids in school longer. Dr. Chan says those vaccinated will not need to quarantine any longer even if they’re a close contact. It’s almost important as variants continue to spread.

“The Delta variant is more infectious and does cause increased morbidity, people to get sick, including among kids,” Dr. Chan said. “This virus is certainly not benign to kids, we are seeing kids get sick, in fact significantly and severely sick, so it’s important to get them vaccinated.”

If the FDA authorizes the shot Tuesday, the CDC will make additional recommendations on who should receive them first in November. Rhode Island plans to open them up to the entire age group all at once.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island