Vaccinations for kids ages 5 to 11 to begin next week

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Local health officials are gearing up to start giving the first vaccinations into little arms after U.S. health officials earlier this week gave the final green light to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot for children ages 5 to 11.

Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave final clearance for the pediatric vaccines after the Food and Drug Administration authorized them for children ages 5 to 11 doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults, The Associated Press reported.

The 5- to 11-year-olds will receive two doses, three weeks apart, of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech the same schedule as everyone else, but using a smaller needle, according to wire reports. During a trial, Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine proved nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection.

More than 106 million Americans have safely gotten two doses of Pfizer’s full-strength shots including more than 7 million 12- to 15-year-olds, according to the AP.

The move has been praised by pediatricians, doctors’ groups and local health officials as a milestone in the U.S. vaccination campaign, making COVID-19 vaccines available to an estimated 7,544 Bartholomew County children ages 5 to 11.

The decision marks the first opportunity for Americans under 12 to get the protection of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I absolutely support the decision that was made,” said Dr. Nicole Mensah-Pike, a pediatrician at Columbus Pediatrics. “…I’ll be highly recommending the shots for all my patients.”

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.