Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine likely widely available by November: Officials

In a private phone call, the White House urged governors to prepare to begin vaccinating elementary-age kids.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Biden administration has purchased 65 million Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses in anticipation of authorization, according to a Health and Human Services official.

That is more than enough to fully vaccinate (two doses each) all 28 million 5 to 11-year-olds.

The Centers for Disease Control has surveyed all states, and 85% have said they are ready to go or are on track for enrolling providers to give COVID-19 vaccines to kids. Five percent said they needed assistance with preparations, according to the HHS official.

In a private phone call Tuesday, the White House urged governors to prepare to begin vaccinating elementary-age kids in early November, according to ABC News.

"I'm undecided about it, especially that they're so young, and with the side effects and stuff," says Sonya Speller of North Philadelphia.

SEE ALSO: FDA to meet this week on Moderna, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots

That would mean children like Speller's daughter, Sauda, would be eligible for the Pfizer shot, which contains about 1/3 of the dose for adults.

"I mean it's a good thing cause you want to keep the kids safe and all, but I'm still not sure yet," said Speller.

Friday, October 15 is the deadline to have at least one shot in Philadelphia if you work in hospitals, long-term care, or work or study in higher education.

But the Philadelphia Department of Public Health says it isn't seeing a huge rush for first-time shots, instead, boosters are gaining steam.

Philadelphia reported about 24,500 booster shots this past week, up about 66% from the week prior.

SEE ALSO: Merck asks US FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill

Joyce Jackson of Brewerytown got hers from the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium at Deliverance Evangelistic Church.

"Looking at the news and doing my own research, some people are still affected by COVID, so it's real important," said Jackson.

In a matter of weeks, a Merck COVID anti-viral pill could be on the market, pending FDA and CDC approval. The company says it would reduce hospitalizations and death by 50%.

On CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci said though the development of such a pill is promising, prevention is still the best policy.

"It should not be a substitute for preventing infection in the first place, which is why we get vaccines," said Dr. Fauci.

On Thursday and Friday, the FDA will meet to discuss green-lighting booster shots of both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Moderna says a half dose of the vaccine would suffice as booster protection against the virus while keeping supply up.

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