ROANOKE, Va. – Children aged 5-11 can now get a COVID-19 vaccine after the CDC gave the final approval Tuesday night.
Kids will receive one-third of a dose of the Pfizer shot, given with a smaller needle. They’ll get two shots given 21 days apart.
Dr. Danny Avula with the Virginia Department of Health said 377,000 doses will be distributed across the Commonwealth by this time next week. That will be enough for more than half young kids now eligible in Virginia: 723,000.
With more shots to come.
“I really have no concerns about vaccine availability, about supply,” said Avula.
The shots will be available at community vaccination centers, like the one at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, pediatrician offices and select CVS locations.
Dr. Stephanie Whyte, trained pediatrician and Senior Clinical Solutions Medical Director for CVS Health, said side effects are minimal.
“The most common side effects for kids post-vaccine are a sore arm, fatigue and a headache. They are usually mild and they’ll resolve in a day or two,” said Whyte.
Avula is also working with school superintendents to hold vaccination events at schools.
“Yes, there will be lots of examples of school-based vaccination across the state. and they will just vary based on the community and the different needs and resources in each locality,” said Avula. “It’s really left up to the local school division.”
VDH is hoping 65% of the newly eligible population will get vaccinated to keep kids in class and protect themselves, their families and their communities.
“We know that younger kids also drive a lot of community spread. So vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds will limit the overall degree of spread,” said Avula. “There is still a clear benefit to keeping our kids safe and the reason why we would want to provide this vaccine to that 5 to 11 population.”