The City and Borough of Juneau is expecting to hold five pediatric vaccine clinics throughout next week using city schools as distribution points.
COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 are still awaiting final clearance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Deputy City Manager Robert Barr, but the city is expecting that process to finish this week. Online sign-up will be available Thursday or Friday, Barr told the Empire in a phone interview, and the clinics will be held over the week.
“It’ll be early next week,” Barr said. “Our plan is to have a total of five next week.”
Pfizer’s vaccine was recently approved for children ages 5-11 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting Nov. 2-3, to decide whether to recommend the shot for children. Once that approval comes sign-ups for clinics will be made available, Barr said.
All the clinics will be held at Juneau schools, Barr said, and the city isn’t planning any pediatric vaccine clinics for Centennial Hall.
According to the Juneau School District, the first clinics will be held at the Marie Drake Planetarium; Mendenhall River Community School; Floyd Dryden Middle School; Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School and Riverbend Elementary School. Links to online registration will be available at the city and school district websites, Barr said, as well as provided to parents by the district.
Any child in the 5-11 age range is eligible for a vaccine, Barr said, even if they are not enrolled in the Juneau School District. The city is expected to receive an initial shipment of 1,100 pediatric vaccines, and according to a school district newsletter, Juneau has about 2,700 children in that age range.
Currently, it’s only Pfizer’s vaccine that will be administered to children, but the Associated Press reported last month Moderna is claiming its low-dose vaccine is safe for children ages 6-11. The FDA has not yet approved that company’s vaccine for children aged 12-17.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky acknowledged both a sense of urgency and concern about getting children vaccinated, AP reported. She emphasized that clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine for children have found it highly effective in preventing serious disease, with no severe adverse reactions in safety and efficacy trials.
“There has been a great deal of anticipation from parents,” Walensky said. “I encourage parents to ask questions.”
Anticipating a green light from vaccine advisers, the Biden administration is assembling and shipping millions of COVID-19 shots for children ages 5-11, the White House said Monday. The first could go into kids’ arms by midweek, according to AP.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.