PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN/AP) — U.S. health officials on Tuesday gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration already authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11 — doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines.
The announcement by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky came only hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to the 28 million youngsters in that age group.
Several hospital groups in the Portland metro area will hold clinics and drive-up vaccination events, but no dates are yet set. Officials with each hospital group said they will give shots to all eligible kids, not just those who are their patients. Appointments will be needed.
Portland Public Schools will also be scheduling appointments for kids once the full approval is official. PPS is getting tens of thousand of doses directly from the federal government. Oregon hospital groups and doctors offices will get their doses from the state allocation in waves.
Some pediatric offices are contacting families to schedule them for next week, but most are waiting until the vaccine distribution is given the final OK from Gov. Kate Brown in the next day or so.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called this a monumental day.
Kids between 5-11 can only get a Pfizer shot, which is one-third of the adult dose. Once a child gets their first shot, they have to wait 3 weeks — just like adults — before getting their second dose.
That means if a child gets a shot next week, they could be fully vaccinated the week before Christmas.