The Allegheny Health Network Pediatric Institute hosts three community vaccination events specifically for 5- to 11-year-olds.
The announcement comes after the approval by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children in that age group.
The first dose clinics are by appointment only and will be for children ages 5-11. No walk-ins are accepted.
For established pediatric patients in the health system, AHN will also begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine in its practices this week. Patients can schedule these appointments by calling their regular AHN pediatric practice.
The clinics are held:
n Saturday, November 13 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Allegheny General Hospital – Hemlock Building (320 E. North Ave. on the north side of Pittsburgh).
n Saturday, November 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at AHN Pediatrics – Chartiers Office (1370 Washington Pike – Suite 107 in Bridgeville).
n Saturday, November 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at AHN Pediatrics – Arcadia Office (9795 Perry Highway in Wexford).
“On behalf of the Allegheny Health Network, we urge parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated as soon as it is available to them,” said Dr. Joseph Aracri, pediatrician and president of the AHN Pediatric Institute.
Data has shown that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the age group.
A dose of Pfizer for young children contains one third the amount of active substance compared to the adult dose.
Children would receive a second dose 21 days or more after their first injection.
Since the start of the pandemic, about 1.9 million children aged 5-11 have been infected, about 9% of all cases in the US. More than 8,300 have been hospitalized and 94 have died, as quoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, AHN said in a statement.
The death toll over the past year places COVID in the top 10 causes of death for this age group.
“While children in this age group have been shown to be particularly resilient to the COVID-19 virus, the importance of increasing vaccination rates in our communities to reduce an individual’s viral load cannot be overstated,” said Aracri. “Getting our children fully vaccinated before this year’s holiday season will be critical to reducing the spread of communities in our region and across the country.”