The U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t expected to give the go-ahead to Pfizer for COVID vaccines for kids between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old until at least April or May, but the New Jersey Department of Health has already started getting ready for the roll-out of that effort.

New Jersey has 475,000 children in that age group.

During the COVID update in Trenton on Wednesday, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said “outreach efforts are ongoing to physicians and other partners to join that vaccination effort when it is available.”

She said immunizations for younger kids are done in local doctor’s offices and health centers, not pharmacies.

“We want to make sure that we give support to the pediatricians to be able to immunize as many kids as possible," she said.

Open a school house
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Make children comfortable about COVID vaccine

Persichilli said most pediatricians' offices are not huge and there is not a lot of parking, so a conference call is taking place on Thursday with over 500 pediatricians and nurses to discuss plans for a mega site with sufficient supervision.

“We want to make sure that parents feel really confident that the oversight, when immunizations are given, that the oversight will be available," she said.

Persichilli said she feels confident “our pediatricians and our pediatric nurse practitioners and individuals, our nurses in our pediatric offices and our FQHC’s (Federally Qualified Health Centers) will join with us in that effort.”

Gov. Phil Murphy said that having vaccine approved for younger kids put on hold is frustrating but “I think it gives everybody a sense, especially parents, that this is being taken very, very seriously, and when they get to an approval, God willing, it will be one that has even more conviction behind it.”


You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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