Kids’ shots to come in local settings, Baker says

Coronavirus Local Impact

(Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

BOSTON (WWLP) – For many parents looking to vaccinate kids as young as 5-years-old against the coronavirus in the coming weeks, they might need to look no further than wherever their child last got a flu shot, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory panel voted 17-0 with one abstention on Tuesday to recommend use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children between the ages of 5 and 11, according to CNN, clearing a key hurdle toward pediatric immunization against the highly infectious virus. Another group of advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next week to consider the topic, and vaccinations in children could soon follow if regulators grant approval.

The Baker administration expects Massachusetts to offer pediatric COVID-19 vaccines at roughly 700 locations once federal regulators give the green light to administer Pfizer doses to children between the ages of 5 and 11. And while many adults visited mass vaccination sites or other emergency-era resources to get their shots, Baker said “a lot” of the pediatric effort will play out in more familiar settings.

“I think you’ll see a lot of this happen in the places where kids get a lot of their flu shots: pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, that kind of stuff,” Baker said in a GBH News interview on Tuesday. “Most of it, I think, will be done by the hundreds of sites that are already available in Massachusetts with the addition of a whole bunch of pediatricians’ offices and community health centers and health care providers and, in some parts of Massachusetts, the regional collaboratives that we set up to do boosters.”

About 515,000 children in Massachusetts could become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines once federal approval arrives, and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said last week the Bay State expects to receive an initial batch of 360,000 pediatric doses by Nov. 5, which is next Friday.

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