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Gov. Walz announces plan to vaccinate 5-11-year-olds following FDA advisory

Gov. Tim Walz announces reelection campaign
Gov. Tim Walz announces reelection campaign
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 2:57 PM CDT
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ST.PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) – Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday Minnesota’s plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to children 5-11 years old after the FDA voted to recommend the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 5-11 years old.

The state of Minnesota has built a strong network of providers that can begin vaccinating eligible children once final eligibility recommendations are issued by the federal government next week.

“Every 5-11-year-old in Minnesota deserves the protection the COVID-19 vaccine has to offer,” said Governor Walz. “The state is prepared for this critical moment in the battle against COVID-19. Our goal is to ensure that the vaccine is widely, equitably, and efficiently available to all children ages 5-11. We’ll be ready to do our part when the federal government gives us the green light, and I encourage parents to get their children vaccinated when the shots are ready.”

The Walz-Flanagan Administration has mobilized a diverse network of more than 1,100 providers to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5-11.

  • More than 530 pediatric and family medicine clinics, primary care providers, federally qualified health centers, local public health agencies, tribal health agencies, and Indian Health Service locations have said they are prepared to vaccinate Minnesota children.
  • Additionally, over 600 pharmacies are actively planning to provide COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 12 in some or all their locations, based on their supply from the federal government.
  • To ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine, expand access to more children, and meet Minnesota families where they are, the Administration will partner with school districts and charter schools to host vaccination clinics in school buildings for children and families.
    In a recent survey of Minnesota school districts and charter schools, 80% of respondents have indicated interest in hosting vaccination clinics.
    The Administration is partnering with districts and schools to host at least 20 school-based vaccination clinics in high-need areas around Minnesota over the next four weeks.
  • Minnesota’s successful Community Vaccination Program location at the Mall of America has tripled its capacity to provide up to 1,500 shots per day to 5-11-year-olds shortly after the vaccine is authorized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • MDH’s Covid-19 Community Coordinators – trusted community partners – will host clinics offering not only vaccines to 5-11-year-olds but shots for the whole family.
  • After reviewing the clinical trial data that demonstrated safety and high protection, the advisory committee recommended that FDA authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11-years-old.

The state is waiting on FDA’s official authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for use in this age group, as well as recommendations from CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice(ACIP), to provide the authorization doctors and other health care providers need before they start vaccinating.

ACIP is expected to meet on this matter November 2-3.

“These vaccines have been shown to be safe and highly effective, and they are our best tools for protecting Minnesotans from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “The evidence shows COVID-19 can be severe and have long-lasting health impacts – sometimes even among young and healthy people. Getting your children vaccinated helps them stay safe during school, sports and other social activities. Plan ahead, talk to your family physician, and once your child is eligible, find a vaccine opportunity near you to get your child protected.”

How families can find a shot for their child once they are eligible:

Minnesota providers cannot begin vaccinating children until the CDC issues final recommendations, which could come later next week. Once CDC has approved the vaccine for 5-11 and your child is eligible, Minnesota families can:

  • Check with their pediatrician or family medicine clinic about appointments;
  • Visit mn.gov/vaccine to use the Vaccine Locator Map to locate and contact providers near them;
  • Utilize the CDC’s Vaccine Finder at vaccines.gov to find pharmacies offering pediatric vaccinations; or
  • Look to your local school district for more information about vaccination opportunities in your child’s school.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, Minnesotans are encouraged to visit the Minnesota Department of Heath website and the CDC website.

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