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Texas DSHS already ordered one wave of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11

The Texas Department of State Health Services provided an update on its plan to vaccinate children Monday.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) provided an update on Monday on its plan to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11.

Imelda Garcia, associate commissioner for Laboratory & Infectious Disease Services at DSHS, said the rollout for the pediatric Pfizer vaccine is different than last winter. The federal government has allowed states to pre-order doses before the vaccine is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are complete. 

Texas has already submitted two waves of orders. The “pre-order prior to launch” includes three waves.

Garcia said there are 2.9 million children in Texas between the ages of 5 and 11. Approximately 1.3 million doses of the vaccine were allocated to Texas.  

The state will receive 404,100 doses from the first wave. In the second and third waves, Texas will receive 303,300 additional doses. Garcia said 814 providers in 120 counties will receive doses.  

However, 134 Texas counties will not receive a shipment since they did not place orders in the first wave. This number could change though by Monday night, when the third wave order is placed. 

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Pharmacies are not a part of this allocation. Instead, they’re a part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program – 700 in Texas have enrolled and placed orders for 260,100 doses. 

Garcia said vaccines cannot be administered until the CDC’s recommendations are completed. Shipments are expected to arrive in the days following the FDA’s expected decision to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization. 

“What I tell my family and friends is it’s not only for my daughters health and safety, but vaccinating her also protects our extended loved ones,” Garcia said. “And so for my parents who are in their 60s and 70s, her getting vaccinated helps them as well, as well as helps protect all of the children and other individuals who may not be able to be vaccinated.”

Last week, the White House said children ages 5 to 11 would be eligible for a COVID-19 shot soon. Pediatrician’s offices, local pharmacies and potentially schools will participate in the rollout. 

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss authorizing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children for Emergency Use Authorization. 

DSHS Senior Scientific Adviser Saroj Rai said Pfizer has reported its pediatric vaccine to be about 90% effective. The most common side effects reported were pain at the injection site, fatigue and headaches. 

Written by Maeve Ashbrook

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