US lays out COVID-19 vaccination plan for kids 5-11: 9 things to know

The White House on Oct. 20 detailed its plan for vaccinating children ages 5-11 against COVID-19, so that the vaccines can be quickly distributed and made equitably available upon FDA authorization and a CDC recommendation.

Nine things to know:

  1. The FDA's vaccine advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, has scheduled a meeting Oct. 26 to review Pfizer's emergency authorization request for use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11.

  2. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled meetings on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 to discuss pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.

  3. The White House is holding operational readiness calls with every state, encouraging them to help increase enrollment of pediatric providers. The U.S. will provide resources to support outreach and public education.

  4. The White House has secured enough of Pfizer's reformulated COVID-19 vaccine for children to inoculate the country's 28 million children ages 5-11. The vaccines will be packaged in 10-dose vials in cartons of 10 vials each. They can be stored for up to 10 weeks at standard refrigeration temperatures and six months at ultralow temperatures.

  5. The U.S. will continue to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to fully reimburse states for vaccinations and outreach.

  6. The U.S. will make vaccinations available at more than 25,000 pediatricians' offices and other primary care sites, more than 100 children’s hospitals and health systems, tens of thousands of pharmacies, hundreds of school and community-based clinics and hundreds of community health centers and rural health clinics.

  7. HHS will launch a national campaign to educate parents and guardians about COVID-19 vaccinations and how they can protect children and the community. The campaign will involve trusted community messengers, schools, health departments, faith leaders and community organizations.

  8. States can start placing pre-orders for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines beginning Oct. 20. Pre-orders will occur in three waves, with the other two taking place Oct. 22 and Oct. 24. States will have 48 hours to place orders for each wave.

  9. Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine shipments can begin once the FDA grants its emergency use authorization. Administration can begin once CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, makes a recommendation.

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