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Refocusing Our Expectations for 5-11 Year Olds Interested In the COVID Vaccine

We know that so many of you have been eagerly monitoring the news regarding the Pfizer COVID vaccine for 5-11 year olds.  In fact we have had 1600+ patients added to our interest form, and that number continues to grow.  We have now had a chance to review all of the safety data that Pfizer released last week, and based on the studies we are able to recommend the vaccine for our patients in this age group.  However we all need to remain patient until the ACIP meeting on November 2 and 3 before we have the green light.  Unfortunately the latest from the health department is that there will be a significant shortage in the initial stages of the vaccination roll out.  Based on the numbers that the health department is currently giving, we will be receiving only enough to vaccinate about 1/5 of the patients who have expressed interest in the first few weeks.  We anticipate that the supply will improve closer to Thanksgiving.

As many of our providers and staff have children in this age group, we personally share in the disappointment that we will not get every child on that list vaccinated in the first days.  We have also been breathlessly working with every ounce that we have to give these past many months because we take on the heartbreak and burden that so many of our families are faced with.  We would give anything for us all to have more peace in the coming months.

Currently the health department is polling interested families on where they would prefer to have their 5-11 year old children vaccinated.  They list pediatric offices, pharmacies, schools with health department staff, and the Seminole Square vaccination center as options.  By filling out the survey linked below, this may be a way for families to advocate for more vaccine supply to be distributed to the medical home where they are most comfortable receiving the vaccine.  Please select Pediatrician’s office!

For now given the initial short supply, we are refocusing on how to take the best care of our community.  We continue to see mild COVID infections in the majority of children infected.  The goal of all mitigation strategies including vaccination have always been with intent to protect those most at risk for severe disease.  With this in mind, we will plan to vaccinate our highest risk patients first with the initial doses we are given.  We will send out a new survey later this week to get your child’s information and to assess risk factors.  Please be on the lookout for that email and complete it promptly.  We want to spare the triage nurses as much as possible, and we will call you from the list rather than having families call us to schedule.  We plan to give the initial round of first doses of the vaccine Nov 6th with a back up date of Nov 7th for weather or if the vaccine has not arrived.

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