Kids COVID vaccine: 1st shipments of Pfizer pediatric doses arrive in Chicago

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021
1st shipments of Pfizer pediatric vaccine arrive in Chicago
The special kid shots contain just a third of the dose given to teens and adults.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The very first shipment of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine arrived Tuesday at the Chicago Family Health Center on Chicago's South Side. It will remain in the super cold freezer until the clinic is allowed to start giving shots to five to11-year-olds.

"We prefer they come by appointment, but we will not turn anybody away," said Dr. Susan Oyetunde, the interim chief medical officer with Chicago Family Health Center.

All six of the Chicago Family Health Centers plan to hold evening and Saturday hours to accommodate working parents and their kids because the clinics serve populations that have been hesitant about the vaccine. Education is part of the plan too.

RELATED: US gives final clearance to Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

"When they come into the clinic, we will have one-on-one education sessions,' Dr. Oyetunde said.

With the arrival of pediatric vaccine supplies Tuesday and the vaccine Wednesday, Northwestern Children's Practice is gearing up as well.

"Within the first week or two, we will have a weekend -- both Saturday and Sunday -- where people can walk in and have evening time," said Dr. Scott Goldstein with Northwestern Children's Practice.

The White House and local public health officials have called on pediatricians to play a major role in getting the younger kids vaccinated.

"It's a little tricky. We also have to account for a limited staff. We have a very busy patient flow, [and] we can't just drop everything and vaccinate everybody," Dr. Goldstein added.

Northwestern Children's Practice plans to bring in extra staff to help, but asks parents who are very anxious to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible to be patient.

"We are telling parents, no 5-11 years are going to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving," Dr. Goldstein said.

If parents can't get their children vaccinated at pediatrician offices or health clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and certain schools will all be available and supply will not be an issue.

Tuesday evening, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign.

President Biden released a statement on vaccinations for kids 5-11 Tuesday night.

"Today, we have reached a turning point in our battle against COVID-19: authorization of a safe, effective vaccine for children age 5 to 11. It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others. It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus.

Over the last several weeks, my Administration has been working hard to be prepared for this moment: we are ready to act. We have already secured enough vaccine supply for every child in America, and over the past weekend, we began the process of packing and shipping out millions of pediatric vaccine doses. These doses - specially designed for these younger children - have started to arrive at thousands of locations across the country.

The program will ramp up over the coming days, and fully up and running during the week of November 8. Parents will be able to bring their children to thousands of pharmacies, pediatrician's offices, schools, and other sites to get vaccinated. Because of the groundwork we've laid, we can be confident that vaccinations for kids will be available, easy, and convenient.

A vaccine for children age 5 to 11 will allow us to build on the extraordinary progress we've made over the last nine months. Already, more than 78 percent of Americans age 12 and older have gotten at least one shot, including millions of teenagers - and the vaccines have proven to be incredibly safe and effective."