Providers try to keep up with COVID-19 booster shot demand, prepare for pediatric vaccines

"I think it's the right thing to do and I think people should do it," one resident said about getting the booster shot.
CINNAMINSON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- As vaccine providers handle an influx of people eligible for COVID-19 booster vaccines, they're also preparing for the possibility of vaccinating younger children beginning this week.

Jonathan Teter of Atlantic City, New Jersey, got his COVID-19 booster Monday at a Rite Aid in Delran.

"I think it's the right thing to do and I think people should do it," said Teter.

His mom, Lucille, got hers last week and was able to find quick appointments at a local pharmacy.

"I'd say from the time I made the appointment to actually getting the appointment took about a week. And I didn't think that was unreasonable," she said.

But there have been reports at some pharmacies of longer waits, as more people are eligible for boosters.

"They're all stretched and stressed and they're doing the best they can with the resources they have," said Mitch Rothholz, chief of Governance & State Affiliates and executive director for the American Pharmacists Association.
He says many pharmacies that used to offer walk-in flu shots are now moving to an appointment-only system given the demand for both COVID-19 and flu vaccines this fall, along with a shortage of people to administer them.

"The whole healthcare system manpower is stretched," said Rothholz. "And so finding individuals to fill those slots is a challenge for a lot of practices but it doesn't mean they're not trying to bring folks in."

He also says pharmacies are already partnering with schools, planning vaccination events in anticipation of Pfizer's pediatric vaccine becoming available this week.

"We have ordered 203,800 doses and more than 230 sites will be receiving those doses," said Judy Persichilli, commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Health during the state COVID-19 briefing Monday afternoon.

State officials say 760,000 children in New Jersey will become eligible for the vaccine if the CDC gives it the green light, and are strongly encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.
We want children to remain in their classrooms this year. Learning, sharing and socializing with their friends but doing it safely," said Persichilli.

The CDC's advisory panel is expected to vote on use of the pediatric vaccine on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

Once CDC Director Rochelle Walensky makes her recommendation, shots can start going into arms.
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