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Is Alabama ready to administer pediatric COVID-19 vaccines?

Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Children from five to 11 years old could soon be rolling up their sleeves for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, but will the state be ready to administer those vaccines if the drugmaker is granted Emergency Use Authorization for this age group?

Vaccine advisers will meet Tuesday to discuss whether to recommend the vaccine for this age group. The Alabama Department of Public Health said the state will be ready if given the green light.

Assistant State Health Officer for ADPH, Dr. Karen Landers, said there are still several hurdles that need to be cleared before kids five to 11 years old can get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“VRBPAC is meeting on October the 26th and that’s the first step as you know in the process of the independent advisory, then the FDA, then the ACIP, and then the CDC, so I don’t really expect full action on all of this until after the 4th of November because that’s when ACIP will be meeting,” Dr. Landers said.

Dr. Landers is confident the state is ready to administer the shots whenever Pfizer gets the okay.

“Alabama is working with our pediatric providers; we’re working with our other providers. We’re working with our local county health departments. We expect that some of our larger providers including some of our hospital-based clinic providers will be participating in this, as well as potentially some pharmacies,” Dr. Landers explained.

Dr. Landers said vaccinating five to 11 year olds brings up additional concerns and considerations mainly because parents want to be advised by their own health care providers about whether to vaccinate their children.

“We are in the process of working with our pediatricians who are already COVID-19 providers putting in their pre-order for the vaccine so they can be ready to receive. We are recruiting additional pediatric providers for the provision of the vaccine as their situation is able to be done,” Dr. Landers said.

Dr. Landers said ADPH cannot speak on behalf of the vaccine advisors, but she said Pfizer’s data looks good, and vaccinating five to 11 year olds will be beneficial in getting us closer to the end of this pandemic.

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