Philly, New Jersey ready to have children inoculated as White House releases pediatric vaccine plan

Local health officials say while there will be plenty of vaccines available, they're anticipating high demand in the beginning.

Trish Hartman Image
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Philly, New Jersey prepare to give COVID vaccines to children
Health officials with the City of Philadelphia and state of New Jersey say they are preparing to get kids inoculated.

HADDONFIELD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Biden administration released a distribution plan Wednesday in anticipation of an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.

"As soon as it's available for him, and he's 5, he's going to get it," parent Joe Lombardo said about his son.

His oldest will be 5 years old in April, and he said he's hopeful his two-year-old will also have the opportunity to be vaccinated soon.

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As 5 to 11-year-olds and their families wait for the FDA and CDC to green light Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, new details on a distribution plan were released from the White House.

"We will be ready to get shots in arms," said White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients.

The Biden administration says it has secured enough shots to vaccinate 28 million 5 to 11-year-olds, which will be packaged in smaller doses with smaller needles for little arms.

"We've already enrolled more than 25,000 pediatricians, family doctors and other primary care providers to administer vaccines," said Zients.

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The feds said they're also working with states and local communities to determine need. Philadelphia health officials say while there will be plenty of vaccines available, they're anticipating high demand in the beginning.

"Similar to boosters, so, if you try to get a vaccine on day one and you struggle, you'll probably be able to get it in a few days or a week. So, don't panic," said Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, acting health commissioner for the City of Philadelphia.

New Jersey health officials said in addition to sending vaccines to pediatric practices, they will open more vaccination sites as they did when vaccines rolled out for adults.

"We will be making sure that the vaccine appropriately gets to pediatricians' offices, primary care offices, FQHC's. We will have several mega sites," said Judy Perichilli, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.

The FDA's advisory committee meets on Oct. 26 to discuss Pfizer's pediatric vaccine and the CDC's independent advisory committee is set to meet on November 2 and 3.

Health officials said they could be vaccinating children in this group as early as the first week in November.