“We wanted to hit the floor running.’ Pediatrician prepares for approval of COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 :: WRAL.com

Durham, NC — As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers approving COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, a local pediatrician is already scheduling appointments.

While most doctors said they are waiting for approval to give the vaccine, Chapel Hill Pediatrics is not waiting to sign people up.

“We had parents over the past month who called us and wanted to know when we can give 5- to 11-year-olds the vaccine,” said Mary Sheppard, practice manager for Chapel Hill Pediatrics.

As the calls continued, Chapel Hill Pediatrics said they decided to start scheduling children under 12 for the vaccine starting in October.

“We went ahead and opened a date and time to see what the volume will be and with the intention that we may have to push this back,” explains Sheppard.

Sheppard said the office may have to push back the schedule because the FDA has not yet approved the vaccine for children under 12.

“We wanted to run on the ground,” Sheppard said. “Once the CDC approves, we will hit the ground running. We will use the Durham office [since] we have a lot of space and a lot of staff. We can 24 . to give away [shots] in an hour.”

Other pediatricians in the area said they will wait before making appointments for children under 12.

“We haven’t started making appointments yet just because scheduling vaccines is tricky when they aren’t available,” said Dr. Lori Langdon, a pediatrician in Harnett County. “I don’t want to be inefficient about using a lock or my front office staff to make an appointment and not be able to keep them.”

Langdon said she is already giving the vaccine to children ages 12 and older.

Once the vaccine for younger children is approved, Langdon said her office will be ready.

“We’re thrilled because this can help school-age children be so much safer and slow down the transmission of the coronavirus,” Langdon said.

Earlier this week, Pfizer reported new information from its clinical trial in children ages 5 to 11, saying the injection is safe and elicited a robust immune response.

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