LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The U.S. approved the first COVID-19 vaccinations for the nation's 28 million kids aged 5-11.
Pediatricians' offices, pharmacies, hospitals and schools have been preparing to give the shots before the final OK from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only authorization for kids is with the Pfizer vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still investigating whether the Moderna vaccine is safe for people 17 and younger.
The vaccine — one-third the dose for teenagers and adults — requires two shots three weeks apart. Children who get vaccinated before Thanksgiving will be fully protected by Christmas.
Details are still rolling out but a number of places in Kentucky and Indiana have already opened appointments for kids to get the shot. Walgreens will begin administering the lower dose shots Saturday, and CVS will begin Sunday. Appointments were first opened up Wednesday morning.
In Louisville, Norton Healthcare said parents can go to Norton Children's website to make appointments. The first appointments that are available will be for later this week.
"We do have our vaccine," said Craig Johnson, vice president of Norton Medical Group. "We are just finalizing our plans to be able to do it. The main thing for us is to do this in a safe manner and make sure we have all the details and training with that."
JCPS said Wednesday afternoon it will announce its plan Thursday morning.
North Central District Health Department serves Henry, Spencer, Shelby and Trimble Counties in Kentucky and Public Health Director Roanya Rice, RN, says the health department doesn't have a supply of the Pfizer kids vaccine yet, but could as soon as the beginning of next week.
"Children are a large section of our population and it's important for them they get vaccinated not only for their general health and the health of the community, but for their education because with this vaccine, we can keep children in school continuously rather than coming in and out of the NTI and virtual school days," Rice said.
The Indiana State Department of Health is setting up vaccination sites for children in Indiana's 92 counties. Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, parents can additionally schedule an appointment online for their child to receive the vaccine.
"Having a COVID-19 vaccine available to our younger Hoosiers is a game changer in terms of our efforts to keep children healthy and in school for in-person learning," State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said in a written statement.
Vaccine supplies could initially be limited in some places as shipments arrive on a staggered basis, according to the state health department. State health officials said last week that Indiana expects to receive 200,000 additional COVID-19 vaccines intended for the state’s roughly 600,000 5- to 11-year-olds.
Clark County Health Department's Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said the department received 600 doses and was ready Wednesday morning to administer them. Yazel said his 9-year-old daughter is a swimmer and has already voiced she wants the shot.
"She doesn't want to miss any events and she's like, 'Ya know, I want the vaccine,'" he said. "So we'll do it."
He also said there isn't any research to show the Pfizer children's dose has any links to Myocarditis, whic his irritation of the heart lining.
That's a rare issue Moderna is currently looking into with its shot with kids, but the FDA has not yet approved Moderna for anyone under 18.
"If you're looking at the risk and benefits, obviously, any kind of side effect from a vaccine is worrisome," he said. "But if you look at it from the flipside of the natural infection, then that kind of changes the thought process a little bit."
He also said to listen to your kids. They can surprise you.
"I think sit down and have those frank discussions," Yazel said. "Our kids are sometimes a lot more worldy than we think they are."
A parent or guardian must provide consent, and children under 16 must be accompanied to the vaccination appointment by an adult. Parents are also advised to ensure in advance that they visit a site carrying the pediatric dosage, which is lower than the dosage for those ages 12 and older.
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