TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Earlier this month, Pfizer released the Phase 3 trial results for its COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. Now they're just weeks away from the FDA granting Emergency Use Authorization to vaccinate that age group.
Now, the Pima County Health Department is preparing to administer the doses. Crystal Rambaud, the Pima County Immunization Program Manager, says they've been vaccinating kids over 12 for a while and that prepared them to vaccinate younger age groups.
"We’re actively planning. We reached out to our commercial pharmacy partners to see what their capacity is going to be with the 5 to 11-year-olds. We’re looking at how we can scale up our operations to cover that group. I think right now we’re planning for anywhere from mid-October to the middle part of November. But as of now it's unclear of when that approval will come through,” Rambaud said.
Mobile outreach programs at Tucson area schools are also part of the process.
"Pediatric vaccine providers like El Rio are actively vaccinating and we anticipate we'll be administering for the 5-plus group. Then there are the Pima County clinics that people can go to,” Rambaud said.
When it comes to parents who are on the fence about getting the vaccine for their kids, the county says the benefits outweigh the risk.
"The vaccines are heavily monitored. We evaluate safety on an ongoing basis, especially for kids who are in school,” Rambaud said.
So far, there's no word on if the COVID-19 vaccine will become part of the traditional vaccination group for kids in the future, but the county is hoping to vaccinate as many people as possible. It's also important to get your yearly flu shot because it's a factor in stopping the spread and keeping pressure off of local hospitals.
“I would encourage anyone who’s planning to get their kids the COVID-19 vaccine to be sure to get their annual flu shot. We want to make sure that we’re getting all the strain that we can of the healthcare system this year,” Rambaud said.
Pfizer is planning to submit the data from its Phase 3 clinical trials for emergency use authorization to the FDA in the coming weeks.