Gov. Pritzker Outlines Robust Preparations for Anticipated Approval of COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 – Herald Publications

More than 2,200 sites have already signed up to provide pediatric vaccinations to 1.1 million soon-to-be-eligible children from Illinois

CHICAGO — With nearly 6.2 million children nationwide testing positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, Governor JB Pritzker today outlined concerted efforts across the state to prepare for the expected approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11. Together with Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and other pediatric health care professionals, the governor announced that the administration is working with pediatricians, local health departments, schools and other organizations ahead of expected approval for emergency use of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Once the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in children ages 5-11, more than 2,200 locations and suppliers across the state, including Chicago, have already signed up to provide the vaccine. Illinois is expected to receive an initial allocation of approximately 306,000 doses for the state’s youngest residents, with an additional 73,000 doses for the city of Chicago, and more than 100,000 additional doses going to the Illinois federal government’s pharmacy partners. In total, the initial allocation will be approximately 500,000 doses available to children in Illinois.

“Thanks to scientists and doctors who have worked tirelessly over the past year, we are probably just days away from having the COVID-19 vaccine available to an additional 1.1 million Illinois children ages 5 to 11,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Once the FDA and CDC sign, these pediatric doses and pediatric needles will be shipped to pharmacies, pediatricians, and other suppliers throughout Illinois — and IDPH has contacted every pediatrician in the state to enroll them in the vaccine distribution program. parent, you should now call your pediatrician to make sure they have enrolled and ordered doses and I will do everything I can to keep up with science and keep our kids safe.”

As vaccination rates among adults increase, the positive COVID-19 cases among children have risen sharply. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the week ending Oct. 14, one in four cases nationwide were children.

In preparation to give injections to the 1.1 million children statewide who will be eligible for the vaccine in the coming days, IDPH is enrolling pediatric offices to give COVID-19 injections. There are more than 2,200 locations and providers statewide, including Chicago, that have already signed up to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the 5-11 age group. That includes more than 700 pediatric and family medicine practices, more than 700 pharmacy locations, approximately 100 emergency care locations, 112 local health departments and public health clinics, 270 federally qualified health centers, more than 200 hospitals and dozens of health clinics nationwide.

“Now that the authorization has been granted, it is critical that we get as many children as possible vaccinated as soon as possible so that they receive the ultimate level of protection,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public. Health. “IDPH is working with practices of all sizes, health care systems and physician associations across the state to ensure the vaccine is readily available as soon as parents and guardians request it for their children.”

To make access to the pediatric vaccine as equitable as possible, the administration also coordinates with federally qualified health centers, local health departments, and primary care physicians.

IDPH also oversees reaching 756 elementary school districts in the state to offer parent-approved vaccination clinics on school grounds, much like it 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’s mobile vaccination teams have already hosted more than 4,000 events statewide, including more than 870 school and youth events for older (12-17) students. Another 350 vaccination clinics among older students are planned in 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 Midwestern state to reach this milestone.

“The best way to protect our children is to make sure we vaccinate as many young people as possible,” says Jihad Shoshara, MD, FAAP. “We know that vaccines are the most powerful resource we have in the fight against COVID-19, and with their consent for ages 5 to 11, and by partnering with health care systems across the state, we have the opportunity to help families protect their children. .”

“As the Illinois Chapter’s professional association of pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics is read to work together to protect our young patients by using all the tools at our disposal,” said Michelle Barnes, MD, FAAP, Member of the Board of Directors of ICAAP. “Our members are committed to working with IDPH and local health departments to deliver vaccines and further protect our children from this virus.”

The Pfizer vaccine consists of two doses given three weeks apart, followed by a two week withdrawal period for maximum immunity. To further ensure the health and safety of children in Illinois, the state requires current, mandatory training for all vaccine providers on pediatric vaccination guidelines.

This is the latest effort that builds on the Pritzker Administration’s existing vaccination or regular testing requirements. This includes all daycare staff, pre-K-12 teachers and staff, all higher education staff, all higher education students, and health professionals in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, emergency care facilities, and physician offices. In Illinois, a masking requirement has been in effect for all Pre-K-12 schools and childcare facilities, including indoor P-12 recreation, since August 4, 2021. To slow the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta strain, all Illinois residents over two years of age have been required to wear a mask in all indoor environments since August 30, 2021, regardless of vaccination status.

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