Once the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets on November 2 and 3rd about the Pfizer pediatric vaccine, HHS will begin releasing the pediatric vaccine to states.
We’ve been urging the ADHS to develop a plan for deploying the pediatric vaccine for a few weeks now. They issued a blog post last week with a few details, but not a full plan. The CDC has published a detailed outline of their operational plan to quickly distribute and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country.
HHS has purchased enough vaccine to vaccinate the U.S.’s 28 million kids that are between 5-11 years old. The pediatric vaccine is 1/3 the dose of the adult vaccine and will be coming in smaller boxes that will make it easier for physicians’ offices and other smaller, community-based providers to order what they need (they will come in 10-dose vials in cartons of 10 vials each). It will come with all the supplies that providers need to serve kids (including smaller needles).
The federal plan includes resources for states to stand up vaccination sites at: 1) pediatric offices and other primary care sites; 2) children’s hospitals; 3) pharmacies; and 4) school and community-based clinics (including through FEMA).
The federal government is doing their part, but the state health department will need to do their part to help the county health departments be successful. That means getting clear and detailed information to the county health departments and vaccinators about how they can order and deploy the vaccine.
The bottom line is that pediatric offices and other primary care sites, children’s hospitals, pharmacies, those interested in doing school and community-based clinics (including through FEMA) need clear guidance and a state operational plan. It will take a combination of all those sites operating in tandem to quickly be able to provide vaccination options for Arizona’s 634,000 kids between 5-11 years old.