Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Doctor Rochelle P. Walensky, endorsed the recommendation that children five to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.
According to the CDC media statement, COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalizations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes) and long-term complications, such as “long COVID,” in which symptoms can linger for months.
Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19. We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine. As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.Dr. Rochelle Walensky
Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and reduce their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications. In addition, vaccinating children can help reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission.
Kern County has had 138 hospitalizations among those under 18 years of age, and 107 hospitalizations among those aged five to 17 years due to COVID-19. The Kern County Department of Public Health Services has also confirmed 21 cases of MIS-C identified, with 57 percent of those cases being admitted to the ICU.
“This is a hopeful time for many local families who have been anxiously waiting to get their children vaccinated,” says Brynn Carrigan, Director of Kern County Public Health. “Vaccination remains the quickest and safest way to protect ourselves and our families from the impacts of COVID-19.”
The CDC has stated that COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Similar to the adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged five to 11. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm.
The state of California was allocated 1.2 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government and has more than 4,000 locations ready to set up vaccine sites.
“Vaccines are how we end this pandemic, and they’re how we keep our kids safe – it’s time to get our children the protection they need from this deadly virus, especially as we head into the winter season” said Governor Gavin Newsom.
California will began vaccinating children ages 5-11 Wednesday with 500 organizations across the state receiving their first shipments through next Monday. This includes working closely with medical providers, local health departments, schools, community partners and others to administer vaccines safely and equitably through mobile clinics and vaccine pop-ups in the hardest-hit communities across the state.
To date, California is leading the nation in vaccinations and has administered 54 million does of COVID-19 vaccine. As supply increases, the state of California will continue to leverage existing infrastructure and partnerships used to administer vaccines to teens and young adults. This includes working closely with medical providers, local health departments, schools, community partners and others to administer vaccines safely and equitably through mobile clinics and vaccine pop-ups in the hardest-hit communities across the state.
“When more of our younger family members are vaccinated, they can join their older siblings, family and friends in being safer, doing the things they love and that support their long-term health and wellness,” stated Ucedrah Osby, President of All of Us or None – Bakersfield Chapter and member of the United Against COVID-19 Coalition.
According to Kern County Public Health, distribution of pediatric vaccinations started this week and will continue throughout the coming days.
Parents and caretakers are encouraged to talk to their pediatrician or other healthcare provider about getting their children vaccinated. Parents and caretakers are also encouraged to visit the Kern County Public Health Services Department website for a list of vaccination providers.
Public Health will begin administering pediatric vaccinations as early as tomorrow, November 4, at the Kern County Fairgrounds vaccination clinic. Walk-ups are welcome but appointments can also be scheduled at https://MyTurn.ca.gov. Free flu shots are also available.