(Posted Oct. 13, 2021)
At the beginning of October, Pfizer submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their COVID-19 vaccine to be given to children age 5 to 11 years old.
According to Madison County Health Commissioner Chris Cook, this is another stunning advancement in medicine and the battle against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
“Our younger kids remain the most vulnerable to COVID-19 since they have not been able to get vaccinated yet. Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group will be another huge step forward,” Cook said.
The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has scheduled a meeting for Oct. 26 to consider the vaccine data, likely recommend authorization of the vaccine, and provide specifics on how much vaccine to administer to this younger age group based on scientific studies.
The CDC will then consider the recommendations from ACIP and FDA. Following this, the Ohio Department of Health will review all of the recommendations and pass guidance to local health departments and other healthcare providers in the state. The likely recommendation will be two doses of Pfizer vaccine spaced 21 days apart. According to studies and trials, the dose for this younger age group most likely will be one-third of the adult dose.
According to Cook, Madison County is home to approximately 3,000 children in the 5 to 11 age group who would become eligible for vaccine. Cook said he expects about 1,000 of those children to be vaccinated rather quickly.
“Approximately 37 percent of our children age 12 to 19 are currently vaccinated against COVID-19 in Madison County. If we apply the same percentage to the 5 to 11 age range, we will have 1,110 children (parents) who will seek vaccination. But I hope it’s far more than that,” Cook said.
He estimates that the earliest timeline will allow Madison County Public Health (MCPH) to begin offering vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 around Oct. 28, but the timing depends on the authorization process.
MCPH currently offers COVID-19 vaccine by appointment every Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“Our plan right now is to maintain these weekday clinics and hold at least one Saturday clinic in November. If demand exceeds our current capacity, we have plans for a larger vaccination site,” Cook said.
MCPH is also offering to hold vaccine clinics at schools.
In anticipation of the Pfizer vaccine being authorized, parents can pre-book an appointment now with MCPH for anytime on or after Oct. 28. If the FDA does not authorize the vaccine before the child’s appointment date, MCPH will cancel the appointment and parents will be able to immediately reschedule online.
Preparing a child to get a COVID-19 vaccine is a two-step process: book an appointment then complete the registration form online at covidshot.madisonph.org.
“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives,” Cook said. “For parents of younger children, this is exciting. These kids could get their first dose of vaccine before Halloween.”
For more information, contact MCPH at (740) 852-3065. The offices are located at 306 Lafayette St., Ste. B, London.