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Health official: Arizona preparing to give COVID-19 shots to kids

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Details what ADHS currently knows, plus supporting reasons

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Interim Director Don Herrington recently released an online guide to vaccinating your children.

Herrington pointed out Wednesday that most of the state's children ages 5 to 11 are "vaccinated against measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, rubella, mumps, polio and other diseases that have been eliminated or all but eliminated thanks to modern medicine."

He hopes that COVID-19 will be added to that list of nearly eradicated diseases with "safe and highly effective" vaccine options.

Here's what his office knows so far:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised jurisdictions to be ready to vaccinate children ages 5-11 soon after its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets Nov. 2-3, which follows review by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meeting scheduled for Oct. 26. 
  • While there may be a special vaccination clinic in your area or at a local school, many parents will be able to visit doctors’ offices, pediatricians, community health clinics, or retail pharmacies. Arizona has more than 900 providers onboarded to administer pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations in addition to retail pharmacies.
  • When the rollout for ages 5-11 begins, you will be able to filter through the Vaccine Finder for pediatric vaccine providers, as you now can do for providers offering specific vaccines. 

"We have been told to expect an initial allocation of 224,700 pediatric doses and expect many more doses to begin arriving soon after the CDC issues its recommendation," he shared.

According to Herrington, his reasons for vaccinating your children against COVID-19 include:

  • Severe illness, hospitalization, and death are indeed rare among children, but there are cases in which otherwise healthy kids get extremely sick. Sadly, 40 individuals under the age of 20 have died of COVID-19 in AZ this year, while nearly 3,000 younger than 20 have been hospitalized. In rare cases, children infected with COVID-19 have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a potentially deadly condition that can be treated. 
  • As with colds and influenza, children are effective spreaders of disease to each other and to people who are more vulnerable, including higher-risk youth and adults who either aren’t vaccinated or could develop a rare breakthrough case of COVID-19. 
  • With more than 600,000 children in this age group added to those eligible for vaccination, we can move Arizona even closer to herd immunity against COVID-19. 
  • COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective, with nearly 400,000 individuals ages 12-19 already vaccinated in Arizona. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a study this week that found the Pfizer vaccine extremely effective at preventing hospitalization among those ages 12-18 and also at preventing serious outcomes among those who are hospitalized. 

Herrington added, "This is a lot of information, but the goal is simple: Kids already benefit from all kinds of safe and effective vaccines, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to the mix helps keep children, their families, their friends, and their communities safe."

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Caleb J. Fernández

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Please reach out via email at caleb.fernandez@kecytv.com if you’re interested in collaborating.

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