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How can kids from 5 to 11 get covid-19 vaccine in California?

Children between the ages of five and eleven are now able to receive a covid-19 vaccine in California. Here is how to find an appointment...

Update:
Children between the ages of five and eleven are now able to receive a covid-19 vaccine in California. Here is how to find an appointment...
JOSEPH PREZIOSOAFP

Children between the ages of five and eleven form about nine percent of California’s total population.

This week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for use in the age group. State officials are putting the necessary infrastructure in place to get as many children vaccinated as quickly as possible. Currently, the state has not updated its appointment system to schedule appointments for children. A parent's best bet is to call either child's pediatrician or school to see when and where shots will be administered. 

With around sixty-two percent of the state’s residents fully vaccinated, vaccinating children could help increase the state’s numbers, inching closer to what some immunologists call herd immunity.

When will the vaccinations begin?

For the state to begin distribution to some of its youngest residents, secondary approval from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup was needed. The working group released their recommendation in favor of vaccination for those five to eleven late Tuesday night and many counties started vaccinating children on Wednesday 3 November.

Currently, there are around 900 providers in the Golden State that stand ready to vaccinate children. The doses given to children are around a third of what is given to adults.

The federal government has and will continue to send state pediatric doses, and many public health officials in California are not worried about a shortage.

Many parents are eager to sign their child up for a vaccine appointment as if they receive their first shot in the next two weeks, their children will be fully vaccinated by the holidays. With families opting to forgo large gatherings last year, many are looking forward to the prospect of a more “normal” holiday season.

How effective are vaccines in children?

Pfizer’s report on its clinical trial which included 2,268 children stated that its vaccine was nearly 91% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of covid-19. The FDA also conducted its trials and found that younger children were less likely to experience side or adverse effects, like soreness or fever, after receiving their shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) modeled the impact vaccinations in children could have in reducing severe cases that require hospitalization. The CDC reported that for every 500,000 children who receive their vaccines, anywhere between 18,000 and 58,000 covid-19 cases could be prevented. Vaccines in his age group may also be able to prevent between 80 and 226 hospitalizations.

While most children do not suffer from more severe cases, over ninety children have died from the virus. Additionally, while they may not require intensive care, these youngsters can pose a risk to more vulnerable groups they interact with like teachers and grandparents.

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