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Pritzker outlines preparations for administering COVID-19 vaccines to younger children

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Monday, Oct. 25, preparations being made for the anticipated approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

The administration is partnering with pediatricians, local health departments, school and other organizations ahead of the expected emergency-use authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Once the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in children ages 5 to 11, more than 2,200 locations and providers statewide, including Chicago, are already enrolled to provide the vaccine.

Illinois is expected to receive an initial allotment of approximately 306,000 doses for the state’s youngest residents, with an additional 73,000 doses for the city of Chicago, and well over 100,000 additional doses headed to the federal government’s pharmacy partners in Illinois.

Overall, the initial allocation will amount to approximately 500,000 doses available to children in Illinois.

“Thanks to scientists and doctors who’ve worked tirelessly for the last year, we are likely just days away from having the COVID-19 vaccine available for 1.1 million more Illinois children, ages 5 to 11,” Pritzker said.

“As soon as the FDA and the CDC have signed off, these kid-sized doses and kid-sized needles will be shipped out to pharmacies, pediatricians and other providers across Illinois — and IDPH has reached out to every pediatrician in the state to enroll them in the vaccine distribution program. As a parent, you should call your pediatrician now to make sure they’ve enrolled and have ordered doses. And I will do everything in my power to continue to follow the science and keep our kids safe.”

As vaccination rates among adults increasing, positive COVID-19 cases among children have spiked. For the week ending Oct. 14, one in four cases nationally were children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To make access to the pediatric vaccine as equitable as possible, the administration is also coordinating with federally qualified health centers, local health departments and family practitioners.

IDPH is also overseeing outreach to 756 elementary school districts across the state to offer parent-approved vaccination clinics on school grounds, just as was offered to all relevant school districts when the COVID-19 vaccines were made available to 12-17-year-old students.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)-IDPH mobile vaccination teams have already conducted over 4,000 events statewide, including more than 870 school and youth events for older (12-17) students. An additional 350 vaccine clinics among older students have been planned for the coming weeks.

Illinois remains a national leader in youth vaccination, with more than two-thirds of the state’s 12-17 population receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois is currently the only state in the Midwest to hit this milestone.

The Pfizer vaccine consists of two doses given three weeks apart followed by a two week wait for maximum immunity. To further ensure the health and safety of Illinois children, the State is requiring current, mandatory trainings for all vaccine providers on the pediatric vaccination guidelines.

To find a vaccine location near you, visit vaccines.gov.

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