On November 3, 2021

Kids, 5-11, can get vaccinated this week

By Ethan Weinstein

If, as experts expect, the CDC endorses Pfizer’s vaccine for children 5-11 on Nov. 2 or 3, Vermonters in that age group will be able to receive their first shot this week, Gov. Phil Scott said at the press conference Tuesday, Nov. 2.

“We want you to know: Vermont is ready,” Scott said. “This will be an enormous step forward and a significant opportunity to protect as many people as possible.”

The morning after the CDC makes their endorsement, Vermont will open vaccine registration at 8 a.m., said Secretary Mike Smith.

The state expects to receive 6,000 pediatric doses on Nov. 2 and 23,400 by the end of the week.

Scott and welcomed pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Bell to speak about the benefits and efficacy of vaccinating children age 5-11, relying on her medical credentials to convince viewers of the need to vaccinate children as soon as possible.

“We unequivocally recommend this vaccine for every Vermont child who is age eligible,” said Dr. Bell, speaking on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont.

She offered parents a run down on the specifics of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine and the clinical trial that led the FDA to approve the shot for kids 5-11.

Younger children will receive 1/3 the dose received by those 12 and older, “because children tend to have a more robust immune response,” Bell said.

Like adults, kids 5-11 should wait three weeks before receiving their second shot.

Speaking on what scientists learned from the trial, Bell noted that the trial’s data was collected during the Delta surge, so the vaccine has demonstrated efficacy against the Delta variant.

“We’re seeing fewer systemic side effects for this age group,” Bell added, meaning that while kids may experience redness or pain at the injection site, the likelihood they will experience fatigue, dizziness, chills, or other symptoms experienced by older individuals is less likely.

One hypothetical question clearly on the speakers’ minds was why should parents not let their kids receive Covid immunity by getting infected by the virus, rather than by getting the vaccine. While it is true that most kids experience only mild or moderate Covid symptoms, Dr. Bell said that vaccine immunity lasts longer than post-infection immunity. Kids may also experience long-lasting effects of Covid, sometimes referred to as “Long Covid.” And, of course, not all Covid cases in children are mild.

Community-based vaccination sites will receive the pediatric doses first, followed by pharmacies and other locations. Vermont expects to set up 96 school-based clinics soon. Check healthvermont.gov for the latest information on vaccination sites.

Rutland County reported 27 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its 14-day case total to 291. Meanwhile, Windsor County reported 10 new cases on Nov. 2, with 219 cases in the last 14 days. The statewide, seven-day rolling case average is 217 as of Tuesday.

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