COVID-19 vaccines for children expected to be available soon

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 vaccines for kids are expected to arrive in the state next week, but there are still some details being worked out.

22News looked into the possibility of when we can expect those doses to be available and what health experts have to say about vaccine eligibility. About 73 percent of kids 12 and older in Massachusetts have been vaccinated. Plus, it looks like those 12 and under will be able to get their shots as early as next week.

Federal officials are set to begin meetings this week on the expected expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to children between the ages of 5 and 11, and officials in Massachusetts say it won’t be long before they have the doses on hand. Federal approval would expand vaccine eligibility to more than a half million children aged 5 to 11 in Massachusetts.

“Pfizer reported Friday that its trials showed that its pediatric vaccine was 90.7 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in children 5 to 11. Similar to its vaccine for those over the age of 12, the vaccine would be administered in two doses spaced roughly 21 days apart,” said John O’Reily, Pediatric Chief at Baystate Children’s Hospital.

“And that’s really what it’s all about. I think we know that kids are less sick with COVID but we still here at Baystate seeing a number of kids being hospitalized and a number in the ICU and across the country we are seeing about 500 deaths from COVID-19,” O’Reily continued.

In the last two weeks nearly 9 percent of the state’s total confirmed new COVID-19 cases were identified in children between ages 5 and 9. State officials are also planning mobile vaccination programs and school-based clinics located across the state.

Officials say that sign-up information could be available as soon as this week.

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