Vaccinations Expected to be Available Soon for Younger Children

Photo by Anton on Unsplash

October 22, 2021 By Carol Britton Meyer

The Baker administration expects hundreds of locations across the state to be prepared to administer vaccinations to children as young as age 5 and up to age 11 by early November, contingent on approval by federal agencies to expand vaccine eligibility. Currently only children 12 and over can get the COVID-19 vaccination.
This applies to children statewide, including those living in Hingham, Cohasset, and surrounding communities whose parents make the decision to get their children in that age group vaccinated.

About 360,000 doses of the pediatric vaccine are expected to arrive in Massachusetts between Oct. 28 and no later than Nov. 5, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Thursday during a legislative oversight hearing, according to the State House News Service in a press release.

"Our partnerships with the schools and our relationship with critical partners are more important now than ever," Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke said. "We will be relying on these many, many partnerships that we've already established -- schools, pharmacies, community health centers, and, most importantly, pediatricians and parents -- to get children the vaccines that they need and to make sure that everyone in Massachusetts is vaccinated because that is our strongest way out of this pandemic."

Nearly 300 health care providers with hundreds of locations in Massachusetts have indicated that they plan to provide vaccinations for children, in addition to mobile vaccination programs, school-based clinics, and pharmacies. The state's primary goal is ensuring equal access to the vaccine for children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's independent advisory committee will meet Oct. 26 to consider approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 5 and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's advisory group plans to do the same Nov. 2 and 3.

The White House outlined steps Wednesday -- including enrolling tens of thousands of pediatricians and pharmacies to give the shots and organizing hundreds of school-based clinics -- stating that "this means that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final Centers on Disease Control recommendation," according to the news service.

Statistics show that in the last two weeks, 8.7 percent of the state's confirmed new COVID-19 cases involved children between the ages of 5 and 9.

Children ages 10 through 14 accounted for 9.2 percent of the total. About 73 or 74 percent of children 12 or older in Massachusetts have been vaccinated.

More information is expected to be available next week on the website.

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