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Kids 5-11 to start receiving COVID-19 vaccines soon in Wisconsin

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Local clinics have announced they’ll starting giving kids a version of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine soon.

Several Chippewa Valley providers including Walgreens, CVS, Prevea Health, Marshfield Clinic and Mayo Clinic are already scheduling appointments. They plan to start administering these later this week or early next week.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) must give the final authorization before providers in the state can start giving shots.

State DHS officials said the agency’s waiting for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to administer the shot. They expect to receive that information soon.

The Chief Medical Officer for the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, said parents should get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Getting your child vaccinated against COVID-19 not only helps protect them against long-term symptoms of COVID-19 but it also protects those around them, their family, their friends, classmates and teachers,” he said.

The new doses for kids aged 5-11 are not the same Pfizer COVID-19 shots people over 12 receive. They are one-third the size.

Mayo Clinic pediatrician and vaccine researcher Dr. Robert Jacobson said the smaller dose has the same effectiveness in kids as it’s larger counterpart. Children under 12 will receive a smaller dose because the larger one can cause increased side effects in kids though it is still safe.

“This dose was chosen was because it was no more reactogenic,” he said. “That is no more likely to cause the sore arms, the headachiness, the body aches or the fever than in adults that we saw get the full dose.”

Jacobson added though kids can experience side effects, parents should not give them drugs to mitigate them before the receive their shot.

“When we used to give blanked recommendations of acetaminophen and ibuprofen before any injection, we noticed at a population level a dampening of the antibody response, which is worrisome,” he said. “We don’t want to tweak or adjust everybody’s antibody response a little lower.”

Jacobson said people can give their kids acetaminophen or ibuprofen once they start experience post-vaccination symptoms.

Doctors said the risks COVID-19 far outweigh the dangers of possible side effects from the vaccine.

Jacobson said for those on the fence about getting their kids vaccinated, the shot is safe.

“It is something that a person can do to protect themselves and that a person can do to protect themselves and that sense of having some control during this pandemic is important and children benefit from that too,” he said.

He also said parents should celebrate getting vaccinated with their kids.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose series for kids and adults.

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