At least seven locations in Newark began offering the pediatric COVID vaccine this week for children as young as 5 and city schools worked to set up vaccination events, steps that state health officials say will help keep classrooms safe.
The New Jersey Department of Health announced Wednesday that about 760,000 5- to 11-year-olds in the state became eligible to receive the lower dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, after it was greenlit by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We want children to remain in their classrooms this year, learning, sharing, and socializing with their friends but doing it safely,” said State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli earlier this week at a coronavirus news conference. “The best way to ensure that that continues is to have as many individuals as possible vaccinated, including those 5 years of age and older.”
The pediatric vaccine is administered in two doses three weeks apart, and is a lower dosage than the one for ages 12 and up, according to the CDC. Clinical data has shown the vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing COVID among 5- to 11-year-olds, similar to the effectiveness in adults.
About 203,800 doses of the pediatric vaccine began arriving in New Jersey this week, and were being distributed to more than 230 sites across the state, Persichilli said. Those sites include primary care practices, independent and chain pharmacies, county and local sites, federally qualified health centers, acute care hospitals, urgent care, and university sites.
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