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Bioscience-Medicine

Texas health officials ready for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

A COVID-19 vaccination dose is prepared at a pharmacy in Baton Rouge, La., on Aug. 17. About 14 million people received their first dose of a COVID vaccine in August.
A COVID-19 vaccination dose is prepared at a pharmacy in Baton Rouge, La., on Aug. 17. About 14 million people received their first dose of a COVID vaccine in August.

Children under the ahe of 12 haven’t been able to receive the vaccination against the coronavirus, but that’s about to change.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said they will prepare for the vaccine once it's approved in early November. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to give full approval of the vaccine for children under 12 .

On Monday, the health department detailed plans once they receive the full approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

“Now, it's important to remember that administration of the COVID vaccine can only begin after the CDC director, Dr. Walensky, approves the clinical recommendations,” said Imelda Garcia, associate commissioner of laboratory and infectious disease services.

With more than 2.9 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 in Texas, DSHS was able to pre-order 1.3 million doses. These will be administered across the state in three waves.

“134 counties will not receive the COVID vaccine in the first wave of shipments because they did not place orders,” Garcia said. “Note that this number may change as additional requests may come in before we finalize allocations this evening.”

Private entities, like pharmacies, are able to put in vaccine order requests through the federal government.

DSHS also said that some clinics in schools have placed vaccine orders with the state, and community organizations will also partner with the state to educate parents on vaccine hesitancy.

The Biden administration has plans to vaccinate about 28 million kids once the vaccine is approved. Pfizer says their vaccine is safe to administer to children ages 5-11.

The COVID-19 vaccine administered to people above the age of 12 has 30 micrograms of m essenger ribonucleic acid — or mRNA — a tiny molecule that triggers cells to make proteins keep us alive. Alternatively, children 11 and under will receive 10 micrograms of mRNA.

Both vaccines are administered as two separate doses with 21 days between each dose.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at hpanjwani@kera.org. Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw.

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