Pa., NJ and Philadelphia leaders prepare for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11

The White House has unveiled its plan to get vaccines into the arms of kids ages five to 11. The plan hinges on the FDA and CDC signing off on authorizing Pfizer’s vaccine for kids in that age group in about two weeks.

"I think it’s better for them to also get them, for everybody to be safe," grandparent Adelaida Santiago stated.

"If we have it as an adult, they should have it, too, like that would protect them. We would protect each other," grandmother Ruth explained.

Adelaida and Ruth are both moms and grandparents to little ones and have the same thoughts on whether or not they should get a COVID-19 vaccine.


"There will be lots of different places to get this vaccine," stated Philadelphia’s Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.

Dr. Bettigole said Wednesday the city could have Pfizer doses for kids ages five through 11 as early as November 4th, which is in response to the White House outlining their plans, saying millions of doses will go out within hours after the FDA and CDC panel meet on November 2nd and 3rd.

As long as it is formally approved as expected.

They will be shipped in smaller packages so more providers can deliver them and they won’t require the super cold storage the adult version did, at first.

"Our understanding is that we will get initial orders of vaccine which we can pre-position with kind of high impact providers who are able to do a lot of vaccinations," Dr. Bettigole commented.

"We expect the phones to start ringing. We will send out a notification to our patients. Anyone who is eligible, feel free to bring them in," Dr. Elana McDonald stated.

City hospitals, federally qualified health centers and pharmacies will administer the shots, along with a number of pediatrician offices. Dr. McDonald says they have already seen that help with hesitant parents.

"Our patients have been coming to us for years. They have trusted us with all the other childhood vaccinations, so they come to us for the COVID vaccine. We are happy to have this discussion with them," Dr. McDonald explained.

Late Wednesday, Pennsylvania Governor Tm Wolf released a statement regarding the commonwealth's preparedness for children to be immunized, saying, in part:

"In Pennsylvania, the vaccine is our strategy out of the pandemic, and Pennsylvanians are doing a tremendous job of protecting ourselves and our loved ones by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. We are ready in Pennsylvania. Vaccine providers are prepared to safely vaccinate our children, and to protect them against this deadly virus. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly and we are all ready to be on the other side."

"Our goal is to make it as accessible and convenient as possible," N.J. Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichili said.

New Jersey leaders discussed similar options as Philadelphia, Wednesday, along with plans for several mega-sites, large county sites and school clinics. As did Pennsylvania, they are calling on kindergarten through 12th grade schools to contact local vaccine providers immediately to start scheduling clinics at or near schools.

"That’s the way we’re going to be able to keep kids in school and keep them safe," Persichili added.

More information regarding Pennsylvania's COVID-19 vaccine program can be found here.

Information regarding New Jersey can be found here.

Philadelphia information is here.



SUBSCRIBE: Good Day Digest Newsletter | FOX 29 Philly on YouTube

FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter