Health agencies hope for deployment in early November for COVID-19 vaccines aged 5 to 11


The Northwestern Michigan Department of Health announced Thursday that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds could take place in early November, and health officials within the department are “cautiously optimistic” about it. on a deployment date.

Advisory committees from the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are due to meet in the coming weeks to review the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, and the Northwestern Michigan Department of Health, which serves the counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego, along with other vendors are planning how they will deploy the vaccine once available.

“Once these national committees have reviewed the data, I hope the vaccine is found to be safe and effective,” said Dr. Josh Meyerson, medical director of the Northwest Michigan Department of Health. “I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to provide a vaccine for 5-11 year olds in early November, and we are starting to plan accordingly.”

Josh Meyerson

The FDA Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics is scheduled to meet on October 26 to discuss Pfizer’s submission for vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old.

Afterwards, the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices is scheduled to meet on November 2-3. Vaccinations for 5-11 year olds would not begin until after the CDC made a recommendation for use.

Meyerson and other health officials are currently working to prepare key partners to make the vaccine available to 5 to 11 year olds.

“This is one of the age groups where we’ve seen the biggest increase in cases this fall,” Meyerson said. “And going to school is definitely part of the equation.”

In addition to local health services, these partners include pediatric provider offices, school health programs, pharmacies, and federally approved health centers.

As currently planned, the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 to 11 will be a 10 mcg (micrograms) formulation (compared to 30 mcg for ages 12 and over) and will be packaged with an orange cap to differentiate it from the purple cap vial. for those 12 and over.

“It’s going to be a separate offer that we’re going to get and we’ll have to manage that,” Meyerson said. “It’s such a smaller dose that you can’t just take adult vials.”

Meyerson also noted that he expects the Pfizer vaccine rollout for 5 to 11 year olds to go more smoothly than at the start of the year, when the supply of COVID-19 vaccines was low and the high demand.

“Comparatively, this is a very narrow age range,” Meyerson said of the age group. “We now have a lot of providers who are registered to administer these vaccines. “

Currently, no COVID-19 vaccine is yet approved and available for this age group, and parents / guardians will have to wait to schedule the vaccine for their children under 12 until the authorization is given by the FDA.

Until the vaccine is available for the younger population, the best practice for good health according to the health service remains mitigation measures, including wearing an inside mask that properly covers the mouth. and nose, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, and get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19.

In addition, the Department of Health is awaiting the last word from federal agencies before it can offer the general public a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those who are six months away from getting the vaccine.

Booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines could start as early as next week.

The Northwestern Michigan Department of Health also reported a total of 208 new cases of COVID-19 from Tuesday, October 19 through Thursday in the region of the four counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego.

As of Tuesday, 77 new infections were reported including 19 in Antrim, 23 in Charlevoix, 24 in Emmet and 11 in Otsego County, while two new deaths associated with COVID-19 were also reported in Otsego County.

A total of 68 new cases were then identified on Wednesday including 13 in Antrim, 16 in Charlevoix, 19 in Emmet and 20 in Otsego County, while on Thursday 63 other new cases were confirmed including 11 in Antrim, 27 in Charlevoix , 12 to Emmet. and 13 in Otsego County.

For more information visit www.nwhealth.org.