San Diego County providers begin vaccinating children aged 5-11
Following the California Department of Public Health's approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for use in 5-to 11-year-olds earlier this week, San Diego County health care providers Wednesday began vaccinating children in that age group.
"Clinical trials have shown that the Pfizer vaccine is both safe and effective for use in children," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "Getting this newly eligible age group vaccinated will allow kids and their families to return to a more normal daily life and will protect younger siblings who are not eligible to be vaccinated yet."
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Currently, only Pfizer's vaccine is authorized for children aged 5 to 17. The county Health and Human Services Agency recommends parents take their children ages 5 to 11 to their primary doctor. However, the majority of county- operated COVID-19 vaccination sites also carry the Pfizer vaccine, as do many pharmacies, clinics and other medical providers. Parents can also visit myturn.ca.gov or call the hotline at 833-422-4255 beginning Thursday to find a nearby vaccination site.
Children in this younger age cohort will receive two doses three weeks apart. It will be administered with smaller needles and the doses will contain around a third of the dosage being administered to older children and adults.
"While the risk of children dying from COVID-19 is much lower than it is for adults, kids now make up about one in five cases here in the county," said Dr. Kelly Motadel, county child health officer. "Despite often showing only minor symptoms while they are ill, kids are at risk, while lower than adults, of developing long COVID and suffering debilitating long-term effects from the virus."
Parental consent is required prior to vaccination for anyone under the age of 18. In addition, minors must be accompanied to the vaccination appointment by a parent, guardian or caregiver to verify the child's age and identity.
State figures show San Diego County has 322,774 children ages 5-11.
San Diego County reported 499 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional virus-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 372,709 cases and 4,241 fatalities since the pandemic began.
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There were 292 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county as of Wednesday, an increase of 11 from Tuesday, according to the latest state figures. Of these, 86 people were in intensive care, up from 80 the previous day.
The number of county residents who have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine is now nearly 2.55 million — or 90.9% of residents 12 and older. More than 2.31 million, or 82.4% of that cohort, are fully vaccinated.
A total of 17,853 new tests were reported to the county on Wednesday, and the percentage of new positive cases over the past week was 3.2%, according to the county health department.