First COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Expected for MN 5-11-Year-Olds ‘Late Next Week’
Minnesota parents of young children will soon find out when their kids will be able to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The FDA is expected to issue a decision on full authorization for the Pfizer vaccine in the coming days. An FDA advisory panel voted to back the vaccine on Tuesday. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will then decide who gets the vaccine and when. That committee is expected to meet Nov. 2-3.
It means Minnesota could begin receiving doses of vaccine for children ages 5-11 late next week.
“We hope that will happen next week, but that’s our anticipation,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm during a media briefing Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued the state’s plan for distributing the vaccine to young children.
The governor says children ages 5 to 11 will be able to get their first doses at a variety of locations, including certain schools, pediatric offices, pharmacies and community clinics. About 505,000 kids fit in the 5-11 age group. Vaccinations will require parental or guardian consent. However, it’s not required a parent or guardian be present when the vaccine is administered unless it’s the policy of the provider.
“Our goal is to ensure that the vaccine is widely, equitably and efficiently available to all children ages 5-11,” said Walz in a press release. “We’ll be ready to do our part when the federal government gives us the green light.”
The upcoming timeline for likely approvals means many young children will be fully vaccinated before Christmas.
Addressing hesitancy to get vaccine
During Wednesday’s briefing Malcolm said she understood why some parents may be hesitant to get their young child vaccinated for COVID-19. She added that the “rigor of the review process has held up extremely well.”
As of Wednesday, 73.6 percent of people ages 12 and up have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, since July 1, there have been more than 45,200 pediatric cases and more than 300 child hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Minnesota. Data also show roughly 25 percent of COVID-19 pediatric deaths nationally have occurred in healthy children.
On Thursday, MDH plans to release new data on cases in schools. The data will provide more detail on the range of cases occurring in school buildings. Currently, MDH just lists schools with five or more cases over a two-week period.