BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Last week, the FDA approved the emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11. On Tuesday, healthcare professionals across the country waited for additional approval from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Stephen May, medical director of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, told News Channel 11 that as soon as the youth vaccine received that approval, they would be ready to roll it out.
“We do have our first little shipment that has come in to start with the pediatric age group,” he said. “They have pre-deployed large amounts of this vaccine throughout the country, ready for it to be administered hopefully by the end of the week.”
At about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices gave an affirmative recommendation to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, bringing the COVID-19 vaccine for children one step closer to final approval.
“I would advise that you check Vaccine Finder on the CDC government site, to see where these vaccines can be delivered,” May said. “I know a lot of the health departments will be starting and then you’ll need to check with your pediatrician’s office to see how soon they’ll be ready to deliver it also.”
As far as supplying Northeast Tennessee with enough doses of the vaccine, May believes what they have in store should be able to meet the demand with minimal issues.
“As anything, when we’re rolling a new product out, it may take a little bit to work some of the logistic kinks out, but we will have enough to get us started in our local region,” he said.
Health officials in Southwest Virginia expect to follow a very similar distribution timeline.
Bristol Virginia Schools Superintendent Keith Perrigan told NewsChannel 11 that the district plans to hold a parent town hall next Monday while a youth COVID-19 vaccine clinic is already scheduled for next Wednesday.