Vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds off to a ‘good’ start, officials say

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The campaign to vaccinate 5 to 11 year-olds in Bartholomew County against COVID-19 got off to a strong start this week, health officials said. However, uncertainty remains on how long the initial burst of interest in the shots will last even as coronavirus cases rise among children.

As of Thursday morning, 84 children in Bartholomew County had received the low-dose Pfizer vaccine since federal regulators granted final clearance for the shots on Nov. 2 accounting for nearly 30% of initial vaccine doses in the county since then.

Columbus Regional Health officials said they vaccinated 177 children age 5 to 11 at its standalone clinic at 1702 Keller Ave. during the first three days the shots were offered to younger children, some of whom may not have been Bartholomew County residents.

“That’s really, really encouraging,” said Kelsey DeClue said, Columbus Regional Health spokeswoman. “…We did expect a good response, especially with this initial onset, but it is a little bit higher than we expected, especially in that facility. So it’s been really great.”

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final green light 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 move made an estimated 7,800 children in Bartholomew County newly eligible for the shots, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

For the complete story, see Sunday’s Republic.