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127,900 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 coming to Kansas; How soon will shots go out?

Coronavirus in Kansas

This October 2021 photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. The vaccine appear safe and nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in 5- to 11-year-olds, according to study details released Friday, Oct. 22, as the U.S. considers opening vaccinations to that age group. (Pfizer via AP)

TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Millions of doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5-11 are being shipped across the country. According to Kansas health officials, the state is expected to receive 127,900 child-size doses this week.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment told Kansas Capitol Bureau Tuesday that they’re keeping an eye on the authorization process to prepare.

We’re closely watching the ACIP meeting today and will then wait for the final authorization by the CDC. We are anticipating 127,900 in the state this week and more to come each week going forward. We will provide an update once the final authorization from the CDC Director is received. 

SPOKESPERSON, KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

CDC advisers are meeting Tuesday to vote on giving Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to kids ages 5 to 11. Among the questions being debated by the panel, is whether all school-aged children should receive a shot or only the most vulnerable.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use of child-size doses for children ages 5 to 11. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also must sign off before widespread vaccinations begin in that age group. This could happen soon after the advisory panel meets if advisers decide to recommend the vaccine.

In the meantime, the White House and pediatric groups have been preparing for the authorization. Pfizer’s vaccine for kids in this age group is expected to use one-third of the dose used for adults. Dr. Randy Shumacher, a pediatrician at Cotton O’Neil Pediatrics in Topeka, said the different doses may be due to differences in children’s immune responses.

“Some vaccines we give at a certain age because if they’re older, they don’t make the same immune response, and if we give it at a younger age, that immunity lasts longer,” Shumacher said. “Looking for that adequate immune response and seeing if the protection for those kids is going to be similar for those ages 12 and up.”

Pfizer’s vaccine is currently authorized for kids ages 12 and older. Some doctors, like Shumacher, said they’re hoping the approval for younger age groups will allow more kids to stay safe from the highly contagious Delta variant.

“With going back to school and other parts of the population being protected with vaccination. It’s kind of shifts some of the burden of disease to kids. It’s still very rare for kids to die from COVID, but kids are infectious if they get COVID, so they could give it to a grandparent, who could be at higher risk of hospitalization or death.”

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