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White House Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Young Children

Rather than mass vaccination sites, Biden administration plans to have pediatric shots delivered in settings parents know and trust

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The White House on Wednesday unveiled a national plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds that is designed to make getting shots as easy and comfortable as possible for both children and their parents.

Rather than mass vaccination sites, the Biden administration plans to have pediatric COVID-19 shots delivered in settings that parents know and trust. "Nationwide, more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care provider sites will provide vaccinations for children, in addition to tens of thousands of other provider locations that serve children, including pharmacies, children's hospitals, and community health centers," a White House statement said.

Even the doses of vaccine are expected to be geared toward children. The Pfizer pediatric vaccine awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would involve a two-dose series of 10-mcg shots, about one-third of the dosage administered to adults and children 12 years and older.

An FDA advisory board meeting to authorize emergency use of the vaccine in this group of children is set for Oct. 26, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisors will weigh in on the vaccine on Nov. 2 to 3.

The Biden administration is hosting "operational readiness calls" with state and local leaders to make sure they are ready to distribute and administer pediatric vaccines once the green light is given, the White House statement said. The federal government has bought enough vaccine to fully cover all 28 million children aged 5 to 11 years, and it will be distributed in smaller packages of about 100 doses each to make things more manageable for doctors' offices and community health centers, the White House added.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will also conduct a national public education campaign to alleviate any concerns that parents and guardians might harbor about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

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