Independent panels from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control will meet in late October and early November to consider the proposal from Pfizer/BioNTech to vaccinate children, according to a White House fact sheet.
Although there is currently no federal vaccine mandate aimed at children, the Biden administration said it has obtained enough vaccine to provide shots to all of the country’s 28 million children in the target age group.
The fact sheet said the plan ensures that after the vaccine is approved “it is quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country. The start of a vaccination program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation.”
“These steps will be critical in ensuring that we are staying ahead of the virus by keeping kids and families safe, especially those at highest risk.”
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The fact sheet said the vaccine “will have packaging available in smaller configurations that will make it easier for physicians’ offices and other smaller, community-based providers to offer the vaccine to kids and their families.”
The fact sheet claims 25,000 sites will offer shots, including doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and school- and community-based sites, including over 100 children’s hospital systems.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will work with communities, according to the fact sheet.
FEMA “is providing full funding to states to support vaccination operations and outreach — including setting up sites, procuring equipment and supplies to store and administer the vaccine, providing transportation to and from vaccination sites, and communicating with the public, such as through in-person community engagement, call center support, public service announcements, and translation services.”
“And, for those schools who need extra help, the Administration will launch a new effort to match school districts with vaccine providers who will provide on-site vaccination clinics for their students and local communities.”
All of this will be accompanied by a PR blitz.
The “campaign will invest heavily in trusted messengers; work with schools, state and local health departments, faith leaders, and national and community organizations to increase vaccine confidence; create forums for parents to ask questions to pediatricians; and reach out to parents directly through press and social media across channels and in multiple languages.”
Further, “the Surgeon General will enlist pediatricians and community leaders to talk to Americans directly via popular media and social media channels and through visits to hard-hit and high-risk communities,” the fact sheet said.
Although Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has said she wants parents making reservations now to have their children vaccinated, one doctor says there are some issues to consider, according to WSTM-TV.
Dr. Matt Cambareri said the logistical complications of administering a COVID-19 vaccination are greater than with other shots.
“There’s just more steps, it requires more man-hours, it requires more paperwork, it’s a little more tricky,” he said.
Cambareri said parents will need a sales pitch to make the program work.
“The benefit to adults is very clear, we saw hundreds of thousands of adults die nationwide,” he said. “We saw less than 600 hundred kids under the age of 18 die nationwide. So when it comes to whether the parent thinks the kid will receive the benefit, that might take a little more convincing.”
Hochul said she is not opposed to an eventual mandate that schoolchildren be vaccinated, but wants to wait and see how voluntary vaccination works, according to the Daily News.
**By Jack Davis