States prepared plans to get the COVID Pfizer vaccine for younger teens

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State health officials today shared plans to distribute Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 to 15 after the FDA authorized its use in that age group last Monday.

Some states expect to begin vaccinations as early as Thursday, officials told a news conference from the Association of States and Territories.

There are, however, two more steps before the shots can reach the younger arms. On Wednesday, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to recommend the use of the CDC vaccine in this age group. Then CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, has to make a final decision to start vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds.

Some hope to start this week

Both the CDC group and Walensky are expected to sign the vaccine use. States have been making plans on how to tailor the vaccination message not only to the patient this time around, but also to parents and guardians, some of whom are hesitant to consent.

Some schools, with their approval Wednesday, are ready to start vaccinating in cafes and gyms.

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Anne Zink, MD, president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and chief medical officer of Alaska, told reporters that many of her state’s districts and districts have reserved vaccines in person for their schools on Thursday, as the state has dismissal for the summer as early as this week.

Maine is preparing four types of distribution sites for vaccines: primary care offices, Walgreen and CVS pharmacies, mass vaccination sites and schools, said Nirav Shah, MD, current president of ASTHO and director of the Center for Maine Disease Control and Prevention.

Starting this week, he said, the state expects to host large vaccination clinics for people 12 and older.

Removal of barriers

States are working to break down barriers by educating and improving access.

In Alaska, many of the automotive night-time vaccination sites are being relocated to Pfizer sites, so parents who have just left work can take their children.

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It’s also important to get young people to talk to their peers about the importance of vaccines, he said. Some groups of Alaskan teens organize Zoom calls, where they share with children and families why they chose to get vaccinated.

In Maine, Nirav Shah said, “the notion of informed consent applies just as strongly to adults as it does to adolescents.” But at least in Maine, a father is not required to be present and present during vaccination.

Parents could sign a form allowing the child to be vaccinated at a school clinic. Maine also allows verbal consent so parents can give consent by phone, Shah said.

Dividing vaccine trays

Vaccines aimed at pediatricians and family medicine consultations present a challenge where fewer doses are needed for those sites than in large vaccination sites that receive trays of 1,170 doses of Pfizer each.

Shah says states have been talking to federal authorities about the need for smaller packaging.

“Breaking the trays into smaller batch sizes is a big effort.” Shah said. “We understand that by the end of this month the batch size will drop to 450.”

But even that will be too much for small offices, he said.

Similarly, an effort is being made in Maine to ensure that medical offices are not limited by their refrigeration capabilities. The Pfizer vaccine should be kept at extremely cold temperatures that may not have many primary care clinics.

“If they need a fresh bucket of dry ice, we can provide them,” Shah said.

Should they be mandatory?

Zink said Alaska usually accepts recommendations around COVID-19 and has no plans to force COVID-19 vaccines for children.

Umair A. Shah, MD, health secretary of the Washington State Department of Health, said: “Our number one ability to vaccinate people is to encourage them to do so, to encourage them. , who do everything they can to make the choice of vaccine the easiest choice, “including the removal of language, cultural and access barriers.

However, he said, “in higher education, the University of Washington and Washington State University have indicated that they will require COVID vaccines for children to return to school. I think this is something that is being examined. increasingly”.

While the messages will adapt differently to all states, the end result will be the same, Umair Shah said: Vaccines work and are safe.

But the most critical thing is that “vaccines are our way to move forward and definitely end this pandemic,” he said.





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