Indiana vaccine providers prepare to immunize younger kids against COVID-19

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS – Vaccine providers across Indiana are preparing to vaccinate younger kids against COVID-19.

Children ages 5 to 11 could become eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next week.

Several Indiana vaccine providers and local health officials say there will be enough supply of the Pfizer vaccine available for any family who wants to get a younger child vaccinated. Indiana Department of Health officials said Wednesday supply is not expected to be an issue across the state.

The first shipments of Pfizer doses for kids ages 5 to 11 could arrive early next week, according to health officials.

“As far as I’ve been told, there is plenty of vaccine to go around,” said Elizabeth Swearingen, director of the Johnson County Health Department.

Swearingen said her team is looking at ways to accommodate kids at its current vaccine clinic.

But those clinics won’t be the only option for families – children’s doses will also be available at pediatricians’ and family doctors’ offices across Indiana.

“The primary care physicians are the ones who are most able to provide the appropriate information to parents and especially parents of pediatric patients,” said Dr. Paul Driscoll, executive medical director for Franciscan Physician Network.

Dr. Driscoll said he expects those offices will open more appointments specifically for COVID-19 vaccinations.

He urges parents to talk with their pediatrician if they have concerns about the vaccine or the approval process.

“It’s been reviewed extensively by both FDA and CDC,” Dr. Driscoll said.

“If I had children that age I would be getting them vaccinated right now,” he added. “In fact, my grandchildren are going to be vaccinated fairly shortly as soon as it’s available.”

As health officials work to make the vaccine as accessible as possible to children and their families, some county health departments are planning to ramp up clinics in schools.

“Not only the COVID but flu and all the other very, very important childhood immunizations every semester available at the schools,” said Christine Stinson, executive director of the Wayne County Health Department.

The FDA is expected to make a decision on emergency use authorization this week, and then the vaccine would head to the CDC for approval in for the 5 to 11 age group.

The first doses of the vaccine could be administered to children in that group as soon as Wednesday.

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