The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) this week announced that Delaware’s vaccine providers can begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
The announcement came after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) last week gave its approval to expand Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children in that age group. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met Tuesday and agreed with the FDA findings. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky endorsed the advisory committee’s recommendations later that evening.
“This is very exciting news for Delaware in the ongoing fight against COVID,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We have been waiting for the day when we could give our younger school-aged children this very effective layer of protection and let them get back to a more normal childhood.
“Parents are naturally going to be concerned about rare adverse reactions,” she acknowledged. “What we know is the benefits far outweigh the extremely rare chance of a bad reaction. If my children were in this age group, I would absolutely vaccinate them right away.”
The Pfizer vaccine dose has been reduced for children younger than 12. During clinical trials nationwide involving more than 3,000 children ages 5-11, the vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent protective against developing symptomatic COVID-19. No severe vaccine-related side effects, such as myocarditis or severe allergic reactions, were identified. Side effects were found to be similar to, or fewer than, those experienced by adults, and included sore arms, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, chills and low-grade fevers lasting a day or two.
There will be adequate supply of vaccine to accommodate those children who qualify, Rattay said. There are approximately 77,500 children in that age group in Delaware.
Parents and guardians are being encouraged to first contact their child’s pediatrician to see if they are administering the vaccine. Vaccines will also be available at Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients), and standing DPH vaccine sites, including at Georgetown Plaza, 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown.
Additionally, vaccines will be available to patients of pediatric healthcare providers and a limited number of large chain pharmacies initially, until vaccine supply opens up. DPH recommended parents check pharmacy websites for scheduling options and availability before going.
Written parental consent is required for people younger than 18, but either a parent or other adult may attend with the child. Those with concerns should speak to their family physician.
For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.