5 Year-Olds-Up Can Be Vaccinated in D.C.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel approved on Oct. 29 an “emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine be given to children ages 5 to 11.” Pending expected approval and sign-off of the emergency authorization by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on Nov. 2, the DC Department of Health has scheduled the shots be initially available at pop-up clinics in various schools, community organizations and pharmaceutical outlets throughout the District beginning Nov. 7.

The authorization came after what has been described in many media reports as a robust discussion, where it was questioned if there were need to vaccinate an age group that accounts for 0.01% of all Covid-19 deaths in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Pfizer vaccine – a two-shot process – is said to be 95 percent effective against Covid-19 and the Delta variant. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected on Tuesday to consider recommendations that initial vaccines be limited to certain groups ages 5-11 rather than everyone in that age group.

“Once approved by the CDC, the vaccine will be shipped out and Washington, D.C., is expected to initially receive 24,600 doses,” according to the DC Department of Health. “Vaccines will initially be available at select community pharmacies such as CVS, Giant, Grubb’s, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart, as well as health clinics throughout the community. In addition, Children’s National Hospital will offer the Covid-19 vaccine to their pediatric patients at their eight primary care locations as well as via their Mobile Unit throughout the community.”

District operated pop-up sites will be set up specifically for 5 – 11 year olds. In Ward 2 the pop up clinics for the first two weeks, Nov 7 -17 will be: Nov. 7 at Edlavitch DCJCC at 1529 16th St. NW; Nov. 11 – 12: Thomson Elementary School at 1200 L St. NW; and, Nov. 11 – 17 at Garrison Elementary School 1200 S St. NW. Families will be given more details about the second dose after their first dose. The Covid-19 vaccine for 5 – 11-year olds will not immediately be available at the District’s Take the Shot sites.

Among states reporting, children were 0.00 percent to 0.26 percent of all Covid-19 deaths, and 7 states reported zero child deaths. In states reporting, 0.00%-0.03% of all child Covid-19 cases resulted in death.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The available data that states reported on hospitalizations and mortality by age indicate that Covid-19-associated severe illness, hospitalization and death is uncommon in children defined as youths under the age of 18.

“There is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects,” the AAP stated.  To date few studies have been done on the emotional and mental health of children wearing masks all day at school.

The vaccine provides a broad defense against Covid-19 and “effectively neutralized the Delta variant” in young kids, said Dr. William Gruber, senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development at Pfizer, speaking during the committee hearing. A dose of Pfizer for young children contains one-third the amount of active ingredient compared to the adult dose. Children would receive a second dose 21 days or more after their first shot.

“The FDA is not in charge of mandates – mask or vaccine – and the agency’s decision to authorize emergency use probably won’t trigger new rules in schools,” said Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Meanwhile, according to District of Columbia Public Schools, all adults who are regularly in all public schools and child care centers facilities in the District must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov.1. There is no test out option.



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