"Nearly all Arizona children ages 5 to 11 are vaccinated against measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, rubella, mumps, polio, and other diseases that have been eliminated or all but eliminated thanks to modern medicine," Herrington said in the blog post. "Soon, COVID-19 will become the next disease with a safe and highly effective vaccine available to children in this age group. In addition, the COVID-19 vaccine is free to all who are eligible."
As of Oct. 20, the federal government was moving toward approval of a lower-dose Pfizer vaccine for those ages 5 to 11, according to the blog post.
Though severe illness, hospitalization and death are rare among children, Herrington said 40 individuals under the age of 20 have died of COVID-19 in Arizona this year, and nearly 3,000 people younger than 20 have been hospitalized. In rare cases, children infected with COVID-19 have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a potentially deadly condition that can be treated.
Herrington said the biggest questions parents have regarding the vaccine are when and where. As of Oct. 20, here is what the ADHS knows, according to the blog post:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised jurisdictions to be ready to vaccinate children ages 5-11 soon after the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets Nov. 2-3, which follows a review by the Food and Drug Administration during a meeting scheduled for Oct. 26.
- While there may be a special vaccination clinic in your area or at a local school, many parents will be able to visit doctor's offices, pediatricians, community health clinics or retail pharmacies. Arizona has more than 900 providers onboarded to administer pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations in addition to retail pharmacies.
- When the rollout for ages 5-11 begins, people will be able to filter the Vaccine Finder at https://azdhs.gov/findvaccine for pediatric vaccine providers as residents now can do for providers offering specific vaccines.
- Initial Pfizer doses for ages 5-11 will be allocated to states based on population by the CDC. Because of that, the ADHS will need to allocate set amounts of vaccine to local jurisdictions based on their pediatric population, which in turn will allocate to providers that can vaccinate the population ages 5-11 in their areas. The ADHS has been told to expect an initial allocation of 224,700 pediatric doses and many more doses to begin arriving soon after the CDC issues its recommendation.