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US readies to begin vaccinating children ages 5-11 against COVID next month

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WASHINGTON (AP) — US children ages 5 to 11 will soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician’s office, local pharmacy, and potentially even their school, the White House said Wednesday as it detailed plans for the expected authorization of the Pfizer shot for elementary school youngsters in a matter of weeks.

Federal regulators will meet over the next two weeks to weigh the safety and effectiveness of giving low-dose shots to the roughly 28 million children in that age group.

Within hours of formal approval, which is expected after the Food and Drug Administration signs off and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel meets on November 2-3, millions of doses will begin going out to providers across the country, along with the smaller needles needed for injecting young children. Within days of that, the vaccine will be ready to go into arms on a wide scale.

“We’re completing the operational planning to ensure vaccinations for kids ages 5 to 11 are available, easy and convenient,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said. “We’re going to be ready, pending the FDA and CDC decision.”

Israeli health authorities are expected to follow suit once the FDA approves the vaccine for those under 12, and begin providing the shot to 5-to-11-year-olds later this year. Close to 45 percent of 12-to-16-year-olds in Israel have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses three weeks apart and a two-week wait for full protection to kick in, meaning that the first youngsters in line will not be fully covered for Hanukkah, which starts on November 28, this year. They should be protected by the end of December, in time for Christmas and the turning of the year.

Some parents can hardly wait.

Dr. Sterling Ransone said his rural Deltaville, Virginia, office is already getting calls from people asking for appointments for their children and........

© The Times of Israel

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