ENID, Oklahoma — COVID-19 vaccines are now available in Enid and surrounding areas for children ages 5-11.
Maggie Jackson, director of community engagement for District 2’s health departments, said Garfield County Health Department and others in the district received shipments of the pediatric vaccines last weekend and began administering them this Monday.
“Some kids have already come in and kids can come in for both a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine,” Jackson said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on October 29, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised those children to receive the vaccine shortly afterward. to get. .
The pediatric vaccine is given in two doses three weeks apart and is specifically intended for children aged 5 to 11 years — it has a lower dose of 10 micrograms than the vaccine used for individuals 12 years of age and older, which is 30 micrograms, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.
More than 130,000 new doses of the pediatric vaccine were expected to be in Oklahoma on Friday.
According to the OSDH, as of Nov. 9, there were a total of 35,593 cases of COVID-19 among children ages 5 to 11, but no reported deaths.
Fully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are asymptomatic should be referred for COVID-19 testing but not required to self-quarantine at home, according to the CDC on guidelines for COVID-19 prevention in kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Jackson said receiving the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine could help keep kids in school and prevent them from getting sick.
“This group of kids is known for having all sorts of other illnesses and ailments, so…if that kid has that extra layer of protection, they won’t miss those family or school events,” she said.
COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available on the OSDH vaccine planner portal for Oklahomans ages 5 and older, but walk-ins are preferred at Garfield County Health Department.
Parents or guardians may bring children to receive the pediatric vaccine from 8:30am-11:30am and 1:00pm-4:30pm Monday through Friday.
Jackson added that other “pandemic partner providers” offering the pediatric vaccines include the Great Salt Plains Health Center and the 4 R Families Medical Clinic, both in Enid; Integris Medford Family Clinic; Great Salt Plains Health Center locations in Canton and Cherokee; and Canadian Valley Pharmacy in El Reno.
Jackson recommended that parents or guardians contact pediatricians if they have questions or would like more information about the pediatric vaccine.
dr. Eve Switzer, a pediatrician at Northwest Pediatrics, said the No. 1 question she gets about childhood vaccines is whether she recommends it.
“My answer is, ‘Yes, absolutely,'” she said.
If parents or guardians don’t mention the COVID-19 vaccine, Switzer said she will bring it up and provide more information if they wish. She also encourages parents and guardians to contact pediatricians with questions and to get information from trusted sources.
Switzer said she believes it is important that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to almost all age groups.
“I think this will really be the key for us to try and get out of this pandemic,” she said. “I don’t see us coming out of the pandemic without people making sure their loved ones are protected.”
Northwest Pediatrics plans to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic sometime next week, by appointment only, for patients, Switzer said. Any parents or guardians interested in enrolling their children or may call Northwest Pediatrics at (580) 234-7070 to be notified once inventory is received and given a time and date. Children who are unlikely to be patients can also be accommodated, she added.