Texas health officials say they’re ready for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

Children between the ages of 5-11 could become eligible for Pfizer's Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine very soon. 

Texas expects to get 1.3 million units of the two-dose vaccine. In order to get them, the Texas Department of State Health Services will request an Emergency Use Authorization for the pediatric vaccine Tuesday.

"Here in Texas, we have 2.9 million kids 5-11-years-old, and we expect kids to be eligible for the covid vaccine very soon," said Imelda Garcia, MPH, Associate Commissioner for Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services.

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced a plan to make a recommendation to issue an Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer’s Pediatric Vaccine after making three waves of vaccine orders to the federal government.

Once the FDA approves the EUA, shipment of the vaccine will begin.

"Based on the results reported to Pfizer, the overall vaccine effectiveness for this age range 5-11 years of age is 90%," said Saroj Rai, PhD, MPH, Scientific Advisor.

However, no child will be able to receive the vaccine until the CDC provides its stamp of approval. "Administration of the vaccine can only begin after the CDC director signs the clinical recommendations," said Garcia.

The CDC is expecting to hold an advisory committee on immunization practices next week. Until then, the vaccines could still be shipped out, but just not used.
The state’s 1.3 million doses will be split into three waves and distributed to specific counties that made orders for the pediatric vaccine.

"There are 814 Texas providers in 120 counties who will be receiving Pfizer pediatric vaccine in the first 3 waves of vaccine shipping. There are about 134 counties that will not receive it during the first wave because they did not place orders," said Garcia.

Just over 50% of counties will not be receiving the pediatric vaccines through the state, but that does not mean they won't be getting it at all. The federal retail pharmacy program received 26,100 vaccines from the federal government, and it is not confirmed where those will go. 

The state will also work with those counties.

"We will be coordinating with counties that have not placed orders in order to offer the pediatric vaccines within those communities," said Garcia.

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