On November 2nd, the CDC released a COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 years old. The vaccine is different from the previous vaccines that have been given out to older children and adults. It’s called the Pfizer-BioNTech, and it contains a lower dose (10 micrograms) and a smaller needle. It is estimated to be over 90% effective in the age group. So far, according to a statement from the White House, nearly one-million kids under the age of twelve have already gotten the vaccine. About 700,000 more have set up appointments to get their first dose, which a White House COVID-19 response coordinator assured during a recent press briefing. This has been a relief for many working in the medical field. From an NBC article covering the vaccination rates, Dr. David Kimberlin, a co-director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama, spoke about how he was feeling on the vaccine rates. He stated, "To already have as many vaccinated as we have over this past week is solid," and that he hopes “it not only maintains but accelerates over these next few weeks."
Many families have been anxiously waiting for the opportunity to get their younger kids vaccinated against Covid-19, but some are apprehensive about it and have taken to the streets to protest it. On November 10th, protesters in Nevada disrupted a SNHD, (Southern Nevada Health District), conference on the release of vaccines for kids by yelling statements like, “Protect your children, do not comply.” Some took to the side of the road with signs declaring, “Vaxx kills!” and, “Stand for freedom.” Others taped signs to the side of their car before the press conference in front of the SNHD building. A variety of polls have also shown that about 30% of parents surveyed will not get their 5-11 year olds vaccinated against Covid-19. Another poll indicated that about 51% of low-income parents are worried about missing work to get their children vaccinated, and 45% are also concerned about having to possibly pay out of pocket to get the vaccines to their child. This push back and hesitancy was expected from public and medical officials though. Doctors have gone out and tried to console and answer as many questions as possible about the vaccines.
Since Wednesday, places all across the country have been opening up for children to get their vaccines, and hundreds more are expected to in the coming days. Although, errors have already been made in the output of vaccine doses. Last week, a Virginia pharmacy incorrectly administered the COVID-19 vaccine to 112 kids. Letters were sent out to parents of the vaccinated children from a Loudoun County Health Department director, stating to avoid giving children a higher dose for their second vaccine and to “determine the best course of action for each patient”. The vaccines were given two days after the CDC approved eligibility for 5-11 year olds to get the vaccine. Since then, the incorrect doses have been pulled from the pharmacy by federal officials.
The national push is to vaccinate approximately 28 million elementary school children. Parents and guardians have many options to make appointments, for example, they can go online to book it and find their nearest clinics. They can also call in to make an appointment. Some parents have stated how much of a relief it is to have their children eligible to get vaccinated due to the upcoming holidays and being around older relatives more frequently. This push for kids of 5-11 years old to get vaccinated will allow them to participate in more things they may have not been able to during quarantine because of higher guarantee of safety, like going to playdates and birthday parties. This new eligibility for vaccines is exciting for many families, and has heightened the hope for return to normalcy.