‘We’ve been waiting for this’: Hochul lays out plan to vaccinate young children once they get approval to use COVID-19
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With the federal government close to approving COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, Governor Kathy Hochhol announced Wednesday afternoon that the state is preparing to distribute the vaccine to young adults once the Empire State goes green. Light from Washington.
Earlier this week, an advisory board from the Food and Drug Administration recommended that children aged 5-11 years receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine; At this point, vaccines are only available to individuals 12 years of age or older. Hochul noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider licensing the Pfizer vaccine for young children during their November 2-3 meeting, with guidance on distribution as early as November 4 if approved.
“We have been waiting for this. Parents have been waiting for this. Schools have been waiting for this,” Hokol said.
More than 1.5 million children aged 5-11 live in New York state, and Hochhol said on October 27 that the state government had already ordered 380,100 doses of the vaccine, and the governor said that would be the first of many requests. In the first order, 231,000 doses were allocated for distribution in New York City.
Hochhol added that the majority of doses will be provided to health car providers, pediatricians and hospitals. Although she has left open the possibility of using state-run mass vaccination sites to distribute them to younger children, Hochhol said the distribution plan aims to make vaccines available in places where parents and children are most comfortable receiving vaccinations.
Dr. Emily Lotterloh, New York State’s director of epidemiology, has been appointed to lead the children’s vaccination effort. She advised parents to consult with their children’s doctors to see if they dispense a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available, and to ask them questions about the vaccine and its side effects. She also advised pediatricians to schedule vaccination appointments as soon as possible.
The state will also expand the “Vax to School” program, which began for children age 12 and older at the start of the school year in September, to include younger children if and when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for pediatric use, Lutterloh added.
“And we will continue to spread the word that these are really good vaccines,” said Loterlo, a mother of two young children awaiting eligibility for the vaccine. “It’s safe, it’s tested, it’s effective, it’s free and readily available. … We all want to get back to normal, and the quickest way to do that is to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
For now, the COVID-19 vaccine, once approved for use in young children, will be made available on a voluntary basis – with all parents strongly encouraged to vaccinate their children. But Hochul did not rule out the possibility of imposing use of the vaccine among children if use is low and COVID-19 cases start to rise.
“As I’ve said all along, I want to empower parents and schools to do the right thing first. But if we don’t see proper compliance, or we see the numbers start to go up…if you start seeing infection rates go up, hospital admissions go up, more kids get affected… , I would have no other choice. But for now, the numbers are good, you can voluntarily vaccinate children, hopefully parents will do the right thing and I will monitor this situation.”