The Chester County Health Department is gearing up to deliver Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 5-11 now that the Centers for Disease Control has issued final recommendations.
The vaccine dose for the younger children is one-third of that given to anyone age 12 and over and the vaccine is administered in a series of two shots, 21 days apart. The vaccine is being delivered in new vials, with a different colored cap on the vial.
“The vaccine for children ages 5-11 is effective, safe and free. It has gone through the same rigorous process as any vaccine that receives FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CDC approval,” said Chester County Health Department Director Jeanne Franklin. “The main study of this vaccine found that the lower-dose version is nearly 91% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in this age group.”
“Our Health Department staff members have been preparing for this approval and have made clinical and operational adjustments to account for this unique population,” said Chester County
Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz. “We strongly believe vaccinations, along with other safety measures, represent the fastest way out of the pandemic. The County has the resources to serve any family who wants the protection and peace of mind the vaccine will bring.”
Children ages 5-11 can receive the vaccine at several locations including their healthcare provider, pharmacy, or Chester County Health Department clinics.
“We will make it as convenient as possible for families to have their children vaccinated throughout the county,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell. “We are working with local partners and community members to ensure vaccines are readily available and our health department will provide accurate and timely information on how to get children vaccinated."
The Chester County Health Department is currently hosting clinics throughout the county for both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Health Department staff have received a supply of the vaccines for children ages 5-11, and appointments can be made for one of the Health Departments’ vaccine clinics at chesco.org/covid19childvaccine.
The Health Department is encouraging families that still have questions about having their little ones vaccinated to talk to their healthcare provider. They can also check with their pharmacy to confirm that location is providing vaccinations for youth.
“The option to vaccinate our children is the next step in this battle to put COVID behind us. Cases are decreasing in our county, but we still have too many eligible people who remain unvaccinated,” said Chester County Commissioner Michele Kichline. “We hope the CDC’s approval of this vaccine for children will serve as a reminder to unvaccinated adults and those eligible for a booster to get the shot. As always, please consult your personal physician with any questions you may have.”
Eighty two percent of Chester County residents aged 12 and over have had at least one dose of the vaccine, with 70 percent fully vaccinated.
The Health Department is encouraging families to make plans now to ensure a safe and healthy winter holiday season.
“As you’re deciding where and when to schedule your child’s appointment, it is important to think through the types of environments where they would feel most comfortable and have successfully been vaccinated in the past,” Franklin said. “Whether it’s an individual doctor’s office or a larger-scale clinic at a local school, you know your children best.”
The Health Department continues to offer all vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – for those ages 12 and over, including 3rd doses for those who are immunocompromised and boosters for those who are eligible.
All COVID-19 vaccine information can be found at the Chester County Health Department’s website,chesco.org/covid19vaccine.