Late on November 2, the CDC provided final approval for emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11. Anticipating final approval, and following a series of meetings between the CDC and FDA, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) received its initial allocation of the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the evening flight last night.
“Vaccination is a safe, effective way to provide durable protection against COVID-19, which has had a significant and harmful impact on our region,” said YKHC President & CEO Dan Winkelman. “YKHC is excited to offer parents a tool that protects the health of our children and the entire region’s population. We have been working with parents, schools and local communities to begin distribution in Bethel on November 4 and in villages on November 7. If enough children become vaccinated, it will help to keep our children in school with vibrant sports and other important extracurricular activities. Vaccination by all is the way to get back to normal.”
To be vaccinated, children ages 5-11 will receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 21 days apart. Each dose is one-third the size of the vaccine given to people ages 12 years and older. Data shows the vaccine provides over 90% protection against COVID-19, including against the delta variant. No serious side effects to the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine have been reported, although mild symptoms – such as a sore arm, tiredness and fever – may appear and typically resolve in a few days.
How to get children ages 5-11 vaccinated against COVID-19:
- In Bethel, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children will be available by appointment this Thursday (11/4), Friday (11/5) and Saturday (11/6). Starting Monday (11/8), they will be available Monday through Friday. Parents or guardians should call 543-6949 to schedule an appointment.
- In villages, YKHC will launch Project Togo, Jr. this Sunday (11/7), traveling throughout the region to offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children. Parents or guardians can call their local village clinic to get children signed up for vaccination. YKHC will publish anticipated dates and locations for Project Togo, Jr. as travel plans are finalized.
- YKHC continues collaboration with the region’s schools, providing vaccine information and related consent forms for upcoming in-school vaccination clinics that will be scheduled in direct coordination with schools and communities.
- Parents or guardians should not use the online vaccine sign-up form for COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.
More information will become available as plans continue to develop. Please note that travel is subject to last-minute change due to inclement weather. YKHC will communicate directly with tribes, cities, and village clinics when weather impacts scheduled travel.
“In our region, a large number of new cases have been a result of widespread, community-based transmission in children previously unable to be vaccinated,” said YKHC Chief of Staff Ellen Hodges. “YKHC strongly encourages all parents and guardians to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11. The vaccine has proven to be extremely safe, over 91% effective, and can prevent long-term health complications related to COVID-19. I am excited we are now able to offer another important tool to move us beyond this pandemic.”
YKHC will be hosting a virtual townhall on Thursday, November 4, from 1-2 p.m. to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. People can tune in via Facebook livestream or register to dial in to the Zoom webinar at: https://ykhc-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UfWXbMA8SbayinhOgNantQ