COVID-19 shots for kids 5 to 11 underway in metro Phoenix
PHOENIX — Shots are already in the arms of some children ages 5-11 in metro Phoenix, less than a day after the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine cleared its final hurdles from national health advisers.
Jessica Rigler, assistant director of public health preparedness for the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday that 200 pharmacies and 100 pediatricians and community health clinics in the state will roll out vaccines this week for the kids.
“It’s hard to say about how many people will turn out, but we strongly recommend everyone get their children vaccinated,” Rigler said.
Dr. Sandhya Ravi, medical director at Pleasant Pediatrics, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday they gave out their first vaccine to newly eligible youngsters at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 30 minutes after U.S. health officials gave their final signoff.
Ravi said 5,000 vaccine appointments for children were made at their six Valley facilities in the past two weeks.
Pleasant Pediatrics received about 16,000 doses of the vaccine for children, which are one-third the dose given to older children and adults and administered with kid-sized needles.
“We had so many people showing interest,” Ravi said.
Rigler added that about 900 health care providers across the state have been onboarded to inoculate the children against the virus.
There are about 645,000 children between the ages of 5-11 in Arizona, according to Rigler.
“We’re really hopeful we can get all of them vaccinated over the course of the next several months,” Rigler said.
Maricopa County, home to more than 400,000 eligible kids, said Wednesday it is estimating families of about 130,000 children will seek the vaccine in the first couple of weeks.
About 150,000 kid-sized doses were shipped to the county on Sunday. An additional 46,800 doses allocated to Maricopa County can be made available when needed.
Dr. Wassim Ballan, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Phoenix Children’s, said the hospital is expected to start offering the shots “in the next week or so.”
Ballan added that families who want the vaccine before it’s available at Phoenix Children’s will have plenty of locations to do so.
“I also want to remind people that there is going to be a lot of other locations in the valley where they can get their children vaccinated if the pediatrician doesn’t have the vaccine or are not going to be able to provide the vaccine,” Ballan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
CVS Pharmacy said it would start offering the vaccine to children in 15 select locations across Arizona beginning Sunday.
Walgreens will begin administering shots nationwide on Saturday.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.