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NE Wisconsin health systems say they’re prepared to vaccinate age 5-11 once approved

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Health systems in Northeast Wisconsin tell Action 2 News they will be ready to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 year’s old.

This comes as Pfizer requested approval on Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration for its vaccine with the potential of getting shots in arms by the beginning of November.

“Certainly for parents to prepare a 5 year old is maybe a little bit different around that vaccination than maybe an 11 year old,” Sherry Lafond, team leader of primary care business operations at Bellin Health, said.

If the FDA approves Pfizer’s vaccine, this would be the first covid vaccine available for that age group.

According to Bellin Health, it has the infrastructure in place once the vaccines are distributed to providers to quickly vaccinate. Healthcare workers have learned and adapted since covid vaccines were first made available to the public in December.

“We have a number of different sites spread out throughout our region where we’ll be to handle and make sure that we can meet the needs of our patients,” Lafond said.

“We’ve had to pivot as time goes on but our teams have learned a lot,” Prevea Health President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ashok Rai said. “We feel we truly are ready when it comes to pediatric vaccine.”

Dr. Rai added being able to personally review the data Pfizer has put together in their clinical trials of younger children is key for him.

“Do the benefits greatly outweigh the risks? Which we do believe in this case will show, but we need to be able to see the data, and have the FDA review that, and then review that with us,” Dr. Rai said.

Those ages 12 and over can already receive the Pfizer vaccine as health experts say vaccinations are the fastest way to end the pandemic. They are known to be highly safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death.

If it stays on its current trajectory in the federal regulatory process, Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine should be available at clinics for children from ages 5 to 11 by the early part of November.

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