Kids under 12 could be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Christmas, states can request doses

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Federal regulators could approve a COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11 within the next few weeks.

White House officials said they are working to meet an anticipated demand, announcing they have secured enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the country's 28 million children in that age group.

Dr. Julie Holland with NorthShore Evanston Hospital said shots could be in arms days after the FDA and CDC give the vaccine the green light.

"This is really the only vaccine that I've had grade school kids ask me to get," Holland said.

There are plans in place to distribute doses to thousands of pediatricians' offices, children's hospitals and pharmacies across the country. Kids could be fully vaccinated by Christmas.

"A lot of kids really view this vaccine as a way to return to their regular life," Holland said.

The CDC advised states to request pediatric doses in advance. Those pre-orders can begin Wednesday.

Dr. Frank Belmonte with Advocate Children's Hospital said the Illinois Department of Health put a playbook together to coordinate the vaccine rollout.

"Doctor's offices, schools, school health clinics, community health centers can start ordering the vaccine," Belmonte said.

Belmonte said more than 750,000 children were diagnosed with COVID-19 nationwide in the last four weeks. He added that the vaccine should give parents peace of mind.

"This age group, because they're vulnerable, has a high rate of transmission," Belmonte said. "So if we can start to mitigate that, it really starts to protect not only that age group but all folks in our community."
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