COVID-19 vaccine approved for children 5-11

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HARRISBURG— Gov. Tom Wolf and members of the Wolf Administration confirm that Pennsylvania vaccine providers are ready to administer the pediatric Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 shots as soon as possible. 

On Nov. 2, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.

CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the U.S. in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible.

“The availability of the new pediatric vaccine is great news in the fight against COVID-19,” Wolf said. “This will provide comfort for parents, teachers, pediatricians and community members across the commonwealth – knowing that we have a safe and effective way to protect more of our children from COVID-19-related illness.”

Like the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals ages 12 and older, the vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 is administered as a two-dose series, with the second dose coming three weeks after the first. A dose of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 through 11 contains one-third the amount of active ingredient compared to the dose for ages 12 and older.

Pennsylvania vaccine providers, including pediatricians, primary care physicians, family doctors, pharmacies, large retailers, federally qualified health centers and grocery stores, will be able to schedule appointments and administer the vaccine as soon as possible according to CDC guidance.

Many vaccine pre-orders have already been delivered with more expected in the coming days and weeks. The Pennsylvania Department of Health will continue working with providers across the state to help ensure that the vaccine is available in every community. Find the nearest COVID-19 vaccine provider at www.Vaccines.gov

While vaccine appointments may not be immediately available as vaccine providers await the smaller dose of vaccine, supply of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for ages 5 through 11 is not expected to be a limitation.

“The pediatric vaccine is safe, and it is highly effective at protecting children against COVID-19-related illness, hospitalization, and death,” said Pennsylvania’s Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is the best way to keep families and communities healthy and schools safe.” 

“We will continue to encourage all Pennsylvanians to get their COVID-19 vaccine, and we are very excited that we can now include children ages 5 and over in that effort,” said Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam. “To fellow parents I say: If you have a child between 5 and 11, get them vaccinated and give your child the power to safely learn, play and be a kid.”

As a reminder, at present, children ages 5 through 11 may only receive the Pfizer 5-11-year-old vaccine; children ages 12 through 17 may only receive the Pfizer 12+ vaccine, and adults age 18 and older may receive the Pfizer 12+ vaccine, Moderna vaccine, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.