Gov. Charlie Baker will speak at Boston Children’s Hospital on Thursday about plans for COVID-19 pediatric vaccinations in Massachusetts, two days after pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine cleared two final hurdles on Tuesday — a recommendation from CDC advisers, followed by the green light from Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Baker will be joined in the hospital’s Folkman Auditorium by Margret Cooke, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health and Children’s Medical Professionals, as they provide an update on admissions for children ages 5 to 11.
The 10:30 am event will be streamed live here.
Thousands of pediatricians pre-ordered doses, and Pfizer began shipments shortly after the Food and Drug Administration’s decision on Friday to allow emergency use. Pfizer said it expects 19,000 shipments in the coming days, totaling about 11 million doses, and millions more will be available to order each week. Authorities said they expect a smooth rollout, in contrast to the chaos that plagued the adult national nearly a year ago.
With the federal government promising enough vaccine to protect the country’s 28 million children in this age group, pediatric agencies and hospitals began vaccinating children, and schools, pharmacies and other locations planned to follow suit in the coming days.
Health officials have hailed shots to children ages 5 to 11 as a major breakthrough after more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, deaths and disrupted education.
White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zichs said the childhood vaccination campaign will be in full swing next week as Pfizer continues to ship millions of additional doses to locations across the country. Walgreens planned to begin immunizations for children on Saturday and said parents could apply online or by calling 1-800-Walgreens. CVS also took online and telephone appointments at selected pharmacies from Sunday.
Some skeptics have questioned the need for children to get vaccinated, as they are less likely than adults to develop severe COVID-19. But with the delta variant, they become infected and spread “just as easily as adults,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci at a recent White House briefing. Infected children have also contributed to the US toll of nearly 46 million infections and more than 740,000 deaths Since the start of the pandemic, at least 94 children ages 5 to 11 have died from COVID-19, more than 8,300 have been hospitalized and more than 5,000 have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus.