TULSA, Okla. — Nearly 375,000 children in Oklahoma ages 5 to 11 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after the FDA and CDC have issued recommendations to administer Pfizer's vaccine.
“We’ve been anticipating this announcement for some time,” said Oklahoma State Department of Health Interim Commissioner Keith Reed. “OSDH is prepared to start administration as vaccine arrives in the state. We’re optimistic about extending this vaccine to even more of our population, improving our collective immunity as a state.”
At this time, the first shipment of pediatric Pfizer vaccines is expected to arrive the week of November 8th. The dose for children ages 5 to 11 is one-third of the dosage of the vaccine for older adolescents and adults.
THD says while COVID-19 tends to be milder in children compared with adults, children can have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19. There have been 14,147 confirmed cases and two deaths reported in Tulsa County among children ages 5 to 17.
OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said the vaccine is 91 percent effective in children. He said while a child could experience side effects similar to an adult after their shot, there were no serious side effects in the vaccine trial for children ages 5 through 11.
“There were no cases of a severe allergic reaction myocarditis, pericarditis, no Bell;s palsy, no acute appendicitis, none of those things happened during the vaccine trial," Dr. Bratzler said.
With 28 million U.S. children now eligible for the vaccine, Dr. Bratzler said getting it will not only protect them, but also keep them in the classroom.
“I think it’s one of the compelling reasons to think about vaccinations so we can move beyond this pandemic and have kids back in school without these disruptions that have occurred," Dr. Bratzler said.
OSDH and THD encourage parents and guardians to consult their child’s pediatrician to determine what may be best given their personal health history.
When the vaccine arrives, parents and guardians will be able to schedule an appointment for their child at a THD vaccine clinic.
Children who have not received a seasonal flu vaccination or need other recommended childhood vaccinations can receive them at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccination.
THD continues to offer COVID-19 testing by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online. Call 918-582-9355 to speak to a public health professional.
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