The U.S. is ready to roll out the COVID vaccine once it's approved for kids age 5-11
Speaker 1: (00:01)
Healthcare centers around San Diego are preparing for another rollout of COVID vaccines. The Biden administration announced today that it's coordinating a plan for making child vaccines available when they receive authorization. That approval is expected in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, booster vaccines for Medina and Johnson and Johnson are expected to be given federal approval this week. KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman looked into the preparations for the new vaccine rollout and Matt welcome. Hey Maureen, one doctor that we spoke with said the Madonna and J and J booster shots could be available in San Diego by the end of this week. Is that what you're hearing?
Speaker 2: (00:44)
Uh, in short, yes, that is what we're hearing. And we know that the FDA advisory panel has given their recommendation. Uh, we know that the CDC panel is meeting as well this week. Um, and so if that goes down, you know, the CDC panel grants they're okay. Like the FDA panel, then the CDC, uh, can act on that as soon as, you know, as soon as that happens, the CDC director can go ahead and say, yes, we're going to do this. And usually that happens pretty quick. So once that CDC advisory panel, uh, gives their recommendation, we, uh, historically during this pandemic, we seen a very quick reaction from the CDC. So potentially as early as the end of this week,
Speaker 1: (01:20)
Our hospitals and healthcare facilities going to contact people for booster shots,
Speaker 2: (01:25)
Uh, I would say yes and no we've heard from some patients, uh, that there, uh, like when Pfizer had their approval process a few weeks ago, um, those boosters have already been going out in arms, uh, that some people are getting emails like, uh, cancer patients and things like that. People with underlying conditions, um, saying, Hey, you know, if you want, you can come in with your booster shot. Uh, we know that, uh, Kaiser San Diego has been doing things like that, but, uh, there's a variety of options for people to go. They can go to a pharmacy, they can go to one of those county sites. It's usually at like some sort of a community center, um, or you can reach out to healthcare providers and, uh, places like Kaiser are vaccinating Kaiser patients. Um, and also, uh, non-Kaiser patients. Um, the one thing that's different about this one, you know, no mass vaccination sites this time. Uh, so, uh, in most of the cases you have to make an appointment ahead of time.
Speaker 1: (02:11)
Now are the booster shots, are they still only being advised for seniors and people with underlying conditions?
Speaker 2: (02:17)
So, uh, for this, we have to look to what the CDC said for the, uh, Pfizer shots, uh, that was a few weeks ago. And they okayed those, uh, for people 65 and older, uh, people over 18 with underlying medical conditions and those 18 and over working in high-risk settings, that's like healthcare, but also not limited to things like grocery store workers. Um, so we know that that's sort of a baseline that we have and talking with experts, um, they're sort of predicting that it's going to be the same rollout for boosters, for Madrona and J and J. So likely those same groups, 65 and older those with underlying medical conditions and those working in high risk settings. But we won't know until the end of the week.
Speaker 1: (02:55)
Now, if you get a booster shot, is that added to your proof vaccination card? What kind of documentation do you mean?
Speaker 2: (03:03)
Yeah, that's actually a really good question. And I've talked to a lot of doctors about this and even the county when they were pushing for people to go out there and get their Pfizer boosters, uh, keep in mind too. Like when the county did that, they said, you know, we want you to go out and get your booster shot. If you've had Pfizer, they want you to get Pfizer. If you had maternity, they want you to get Madonna. Um, and some people had to wait a little bit longer J and J and Medina, but that should be coming out here soon. In terms of the documentation, they're asking you to bring your vaccination card and you'll get like another sticker or another stamp on there. Um, also something to note too, the definition for fully vaccinated is still completing, you know, either the one series J and J or the two series Madonna and Pfizer. So the booster does not affect fully vaccinated. You know, some people need that for their work, uh, with mandates and things like that. Uh, so this is obviously just optional at this time.
Speaker 1: (03:52)
Now you mentioned the Pfizer booster that's been available for some time. How's that rollout been going?
Speaker 2: (03:57)
You know, we reached out to county officials and they said, uh, 89,000 doses of Pfizer booster, uh, at least have been administered here in San Diego county. Um, and we know that there's 2.2 million San Diego NS that are fully vaccinated. So, uh, when you hear that number 90,000, I mean, maybe it might seem a little small keep in mind. It's only been around for a few weeks. It's not something that's mandatory. Uh, but yeah, that's where the number is right now, 90,000 also, Maureen, something for people to keep in mind if they're thinking about going and getting a booster shot, whether it be Pfizer Madrona or J and J officials are asking that you get that shot, uh, at least six months after your original doses.
Speaker 1: (04:34)
Now today's news, the white house says it's making plans for the rollout of COVID vaccines for children ages five to 11, a CDC advisory panel will meet November 2nd to decide on approval. What is the general outline of this rollout plan?
Speaker 2: (04:52)
It was really big news. You know, we've been hearing a lot, a lot about, uh, vaccinations for kids ages five to 11. Um, and we understand that, uh, we are right around the corner from that, uh, yet today, the white house and, uh, some of their staff basically they're saying that they are ready to get shots in arms. Uh, they say that they have plenty of supply to vaccinate every child in the U S uh, ages five through 11. Um, and they say that just, just to kind of put it in context right now, in terms of unvaccinated people that, that are eligible. So we're not talking about kids, there's about 65 million Americans that are still not vaccinated, but that five through 11, that represents about 28 million Americans, the white house says
Speaker 1: (05:32)
Where will kids be able to get their shots?
Speaker 2: (05:35)
So the white house is working, um, with, uh, children's hospitals, working with state and local governments to set up sites. They say they want to make it really easy and convenient. So, um, you know, you'll be able to go to pharmacies, they're saying thousands of local pharmacies, uh, community health centers, rural health centers. Um, also I mentioned those children's hospitals. Um, so there's going to be a lot of places for kids to get it. Now they need their parental consent to get it. Um, so we'll see, um, once this comes out, if, uh, the kids are going to be lining up to get vaccinated, should we,
Speaker 1: (06:04)
I expect to hear more specifics from San Diego county about the vaccine rollout, for sure.
Speaker 2: (06:09)
Okay. I think the answer on that is yes. Um, usually when these things happen, uh, county health officials will, uh, hold a news conference, a news briefing, sort of letting people know here's where you can get this shot. Here's everything that you need to bring. So I think there's definitely more to come on this now. Uh, will we be seeing, uh, you know, some of these, uh, super stations as we were talking about before, um, that sort of remains unclear, um, and maybe, you know, as we've seen with some of the, uh, younger kids, like those who are in high school, uh, eligible for the Pfizer shot, and we've seen a lot of sites that have been there right. At schools. So I wouldn't be surprised if we see, uh, some of these sites at schools where parents can just sort of either sign a permission, slip, like giving their permission or bringing their kids there to get their shots. So I think that there's definitely more to come here.
Speaker 1: (06:52)
I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman, Matt. Thank
Speaker 2: (06:56)
You. Thanks Maureen.
The White House said on Wednesday that it is ready to quickly roll out COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11, if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The administration has bought enough doses for all 28 million children in that age group and will provide it in smaller packages with essential supplies like smaller needles to make it easier to get to physicians, pediatricians and community health centers, Biden administration officials said.
"Should the FDA and CDC authorize the vaccine, we will be ready to get shots in arms," said White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients during a news briefing Wednesday morning.
The vaccine could be cleared for use in children ages 5 to 11 within a couple of weeks, officials said. The FDA's independent advisory committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26, and the CDC's independent advisory committee meeting is set for Nov. 2 and 3.
The Pfizer vaccine currently has full approval for use in adults, and the federal government has authorized it for emergency use in children ages 12 to 17.
White House officials said they were announcing the plan to inoculate children ages 5 to 11 before the vaccine was approved for that age group so they could be "operationally ready" to deploy the doses as soon as the approval came.
Under the plan, the administration will work with state and local leaders to make the vaccine available at more than 25,000 pediatricians' offices and primary care sites and 100 children's hospital systems as well as pharmacies, schools and community health centers.
The administration also will roll out a national public education campaign to inform parents and guardians about the vaccine and solicit questions.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the campaign would help head off one of the barriers to vaccinating both children and adults — misinformation about the drug.
"That's why we're making sure that it's trusted messengers with scientific credibility who go out there and talk about these vaccines," Murthy said. "But it is our collective responsibility — whether we're in government, in the media, whether we're individuals — to help prevent the flow and spread of misinformation online."
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