As COVID vaccine for kids under 12 becomes available, Gov. Pritzker establishes IL vaccination plan

COVID vaccine children under 12: COVID-19 shot proven to be over 90% effective in preventing symptoms

Diane Pathieu Image
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
IL plans to vaccinate kids against COVID in parks, schools, more
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Gov. Pritzker has set out his plan to get 1.1 million children in Illinois vaccinated against COVID-19.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker set out his plan Monday to get 1.1 million children in Illinois vaccinated against COVID-19.

Illinois and Chicago are making plans to get shots into arms as quickly as possible.

WATCH: Local doctor discusses COVID vaccine for kids ahead of likely authorization

In an afternoon announcement, Pritzker said he expects Illinois to have 500,000 doses ready to use for children ages 5 thru 11 once the vaccine is authorized.

About 700 medical practices have already signed up to administer shots, and those doses could be distributed very soon.

"Giving vaccinations in pediatric offices, that's what we do," said Dr. Sharon Robinson, pediatrician at North Shore University HealthSystem. "That is our jam. We have it down. All we need are those vials and we are ready to get shots into the arms of younger children."

"We are giving ample opportunity for folks to get vaccinated in their primary care offices, schools will be giving vaccinations, retail pharmacies will be doing vaccinations," said Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children's Hospital. "We want to make it easy for whatever schedule a parent has to get their child vaccinated."

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The vaccine, which will be a third of the dose adults receive, is proven to be over 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms in children.

"I've seen it both ways. I've seen kids who have gotten really sick from it, some who haven't, and I just want to protect my kids and make sure they're not on the sicker end of the spectrum," mother Stephanie Posch said.

When that authorization comes, as soon as early next month, the state will hold vaccine events in parks, schools and other locations.

The doctors at Chicagoland Children's Health Alliance said it's essential to get kids vaccinated to help move out of this pandemic.

"I am so excited and eagerly anticipating being able to offer this lifesaving vaccine to my patients, giving vaccines -- that's our jam; that's what we do in pediatric offices," said Dr. Sharon Robinson, with Northshore University Health Systems. "We have it down. So we are more than ready. All we need are really those vials, and we are ready to get shots into the arms of these younger children."

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said school clinics will be ready to vaccinate younger children.

"This is an exciting time for our families to get 5- to 11-year-olds vaccinated," he said. "This is a game changer for our district, this is a game changer for our nation."