The CDC gave the green light for the vaccine to be offered to children in the new age group Nov. 2, following the FDA's decision to extend emergency use authorization for the vaccine to children age 5 and up. In making the decision, the organizations consulted the results of a clinical trial showing that Pfizer's vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections among 5- to 11-year-olds and poses no serious health risks.
On Nov. 3, the Texas Department of State Health Services published a list of providers who would receive pediatric vaccine shipments in the course of the next week.
“Vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 helps to protect all Texans from COVID-19,” said DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt in a statement. “Twenty-two Texas children between the ages of 5 and 11 have died from complications of COVID-19, and 118 have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. The pediatric vaccine will further help reduce the spread of disease and prevent the rare but serious complications of COVID-19 in this age group.”
Because children age 5-11 will receive a smaller dose of the vaccine, providers must request the product specifically for that age group. There are 46 providers in Travis County set to receive pediatric vaccine shipments this week, as well as 15 in Williamson County and seven in Hays County, including local public health departments, doctor's offices and pharmacies. A full list of Texas providers receiving pediatric doses this week can be accessed here.
Austin Public Health announced that vaccines for children age 5 to 11 would be offered this week at the organization's Shots for Tots clinics, along with flu vaccines. Flu shots and immunizations at Shots for Tots clinics are typically offered to children who are Medicaid recipients or are uninsured, but COVID-19 shots are available for any child with an appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 512-972-5520. During the week of Nov. 8, APH will also offer pediatric vaccines at Delco Activity Center and Old Sims Elementary School. No appointments are required at these walk-up clinics.
Likewise, the Williamson County and Cities Health District has announced it will begin offering vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds beginning Nov. 8. Appointments can be made by calling 512-943-3600.
Travis County Judge Andy Brown said Nov. 2 that the Travis County Vaccine Collaborative will also partner with local school districts in the upcoming weeks to offer vaccines through schools.
"As a parent, I’m excited that my children will hopefully soon be vaccinated. At the county, we are working with local school districts in a school-based approach that would supplement their efforts and provide support wherever needed. The initial effort will focus on communities hardest hit by COVID-19, which includes Del Valle ISD, Manor ISD, Pflugerville ISD, and Title 1 schools in Austin ISD," Brown said in a statement.
Hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics are gearing up their pediatric immunization efforts as well, including locally-owned institutions, such as Tarrytown Pharmacy, and national chains, including CVS and Walgreens. Austin Regional Clinic, which has locations throughout Austin and neighboring cities, announced it will begin offering shots to kids as young as 5 years old next week.
"I have seen so many children who are anxious to go back to life before the worry of COVID-19," said Dr. Elizabeth Knapp, co-chief of pediatrics for ARC, in a news release. "We cannot wait to have our kids being able to be vaccinated and protected against this illness."