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DHS approves COVID-19 vaccine for younger Wisconsin kids

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 1:05 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 10:54 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin state health officials gave the go ahead Wednesday to begin distributing a version of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old.

Like the adult version, this new, smaller pediatric vaccine will be delivered in two doses spaced 21 days apart, the Dept. of Health Services explained.

In announcing its approval, DHS noted that children under 18 have the highest number of cases per capita of any age group in the state. It added that the virus, particularly the widespread delta variant “can have a serious impact on your child’s health.”

“The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but I know it has been especially hard for our kids,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement announcing the approval. “Now with a COVID-19 vaccine available to nearly all school-aged children, we can do more to protect our kids from this virus.”

The agency said vaccinations can begin once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives its associated clinical guidance and vaccinators have time to go over the recommendations and get everyone trained.

“Everyone giving this vaccine need to understand the rules and know how to do it properly,” said Dr. James Conway, Medical Director of UW Health’s immunization programs.

For all vaccine providers, easy access is the goal. SSM Health is planning to partner with local schools in addition to vaccinating at its own facilities. “We are busy now training our employees on how to handle the pediatric vaccine. It comes with new storage requirements and mixing and vaccinating techniques,” said Mo Kharbat, SSM Health’s Vice President of Pharmacy Services.

Parents of children between 5-11 can schedule a vaccination appointment by contacting their health care provider, at a community-based clinic, at local and tribal health departments, or through pharmacies. Providers can also be found by going to vaccine.gov while more information for parents is available on the COVID-19 Resources for Parents and Guardians or by calling 844-684-1064.

In a tweet earlier in the day, Public Health Madison and Dane Co. showed off its first pediatric doses and indicated it expected to begin offering vaccines to this younger cohort at the Alliant Energy Center early next week.

correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that two weeks were recommended between Pfizer doses. That has been updated to be in line with the three weeks recommended by the CDC.

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