Children ages 5 through 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine in Delaware.
The Delaware Division of Public Health announced Wednesday that providers can begin administering the vaccine immediately.
The announcement comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week gave its approval to expand the emergency use authorization to allow for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children in that age group.
“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.”
Rattay said it’s natural for parents to be concerned about rare adverse reactions, but said the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the “extremely rare chance of a bad reaction.”
She said if her children were in the 5-11 age group, she would vaccinate them right away.
Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine differs from the original in that the dose has been reduced for children under 12 years old.
In a press release, the Division of Public Health cited nationwide clinical trials involving more than 3,000 children ages 5-11. In those trials, the vaccine was found to be more than 90% protective against developing symptomatic cases of COVID-19.
“No severe vaccine-related side effects such as myocarditis or severe allergic reactions were identified,” the release said. “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.”
The agency said there will be plenty of doses to accommodate Delaware’s 77,500 residents in that age group.
Parents or 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 and standing Division of Public Health vaccine sites, including:
- Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover
- Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown
- Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington,
- University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark
Additionally, vaccines will be available to patients of pediatric health care providers and a limited number of large chain pharmacies initially until vaccine supply opens up. DPH recommends parents check pharmacy websites for scheduling options and availability before going.
For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.
Written parental consent is required for people younger than 18 to receive the vaccine, but either a parent or other adult may attend with the child. Those with concerns should speak to their family physician.
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