NJ parents told to get ready for COVID vaccines for young kids
Children ages 5 to 11 could soon be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
With shots for kids in this age group expected to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration at the beginning of November, the White House has unveiled a mobilization plan that will ship enough vaccine supply to New Jersey and states across the nation to inoculate 28 million children.
Health officials in the Garden State are making final preparations to make the shots available as soon as the FDA gives the green light.
During a virtual coronavirus pandemic response press conference held Wednesday, State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the goal is to make the COVID vaccine for younger children as accessible and easy as possible.
She said plans are in place to deliver supplies to primary care offices, pediatricians and Federally Qualified Health Centers. That's in addition to other locations.
"We will have several megasites in addition to large county sites, retail and independent pharmacies and school clinics.”
One of the reasons for the wide accessibility, according to Persichilli, is to make getting the vaccine convenient, adding that the department plans on "aggressively encouraging 5 to 11 shots.”
Gov. Phil Murphy said as soon as the FDA gives the go-ahead, younger children across the state will be able to get a COVID vaccine.
“We look forward to working with our federal partners to vaccinate and protect New Jersey’s kids. We will be ready as we have been at every step of the way in terms of the vaccinations,” he said.
One thing that is likely to be different about the vaccines for the younger age group versus those that have already been eligible to receive it is the dose.
“We expect it will be a different dose than the standard or 12 and up vaccinations, but we’ll be ready,” Murphy said.
During clinical trials, 5- and 6-year olds were given a lower dose of vaccine than 10- and 11-year olds.
Persichilli noted 57% of Jersey kids between the ages of 12 and 17 have been vaccinated, with efforts continuing to increase that number.
"We want kids from 5 to 11 to get vaccinated. That’s the way we’re going to keep kids in school and keep them safe and keep them able to play sports, gather with their friends in safe environments,” Persichilli said.