It was a long-awaited and much-debated decision among health experts. But both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have signed off on the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old. The goal now is to vaccinate children as soon as possible.
“As soon as next week, we will have enough vaccines in enough places and parents will be able to schedule appointments to get their kids their first shot,” said President Joe Biden. “We’ve already secured enough vaccine supply for every single child in America ages 5 through 11.”
Several kids in Dallas County in Texas were among the first to get the shot.
“In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting and similar to those seen in adults. In vaccines recommended for children, the most common side effect was a sore arm,” explained Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.
COVID-19 vaccines for children will be available as early as this weekend at local pharmacies.
“We’ll be rolling out the vaccine as of tomorrow, Friday and early next week,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer.
In a statement, San Luis Obispo County Public Health said vaccines will be available in the coming weeks as shipments arrive locally.
"Appointments will be available at public health clinics in Grover Beach, Paso Robles, or San Luis Obispo beginning the week of November 15, and may be available earlier from pediatricians and local pharmacies,” said Michelle Shoresman, public information officer with San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.
“The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in coalition with the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, we will reach out to that school district and do school-based vaccination sites and most pharmacies have agreed to vaccinate this age group as well,” Dr. Ansorg added.
Walgreens is planning to administer shots as early as Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.
CVS Health will have the vaccine available starting on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.
Local health officials say the vaccine is key in preparing for the holidays and to keeping kids in school.
According to the FDA, COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age make up 39% of cases in individuals younger than 18. That's why public health officials recommend talking with your family pediatrician about the vaccine.
“We have about 12 outbreaks in schools in Santa Barbara County. It’s happening and mostly among children,” Dr. Ansorg said.
To schedule an appointment with the county, those interested can schedule an appointment through www.myturn.ca.gov. Parents are also advised to contact their family’s pediatrician.