School facilities could serve as COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites for children this summer
There was a push on Friday to vaccinate children 12 and older with Pfizer seeking FDA approval. Health experts believe it could happen in a matter of weeks.
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“I work in the medical field,” said James Boriboun, a parent. “I’ve seen the vaccine work better than not at all. There’s a chance it won’t work, but I’m willing to take the risk that not at all.”
Other parents also seem to agree.
“It’s something everyone should be thinking about,” said Kevin Davis.
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Galveston County said it is preparing for the next age group by working alongside school districts. A meeting will be held to discuss preparations next week. The county has said it wants to use empty facilities to administer doses this summer.
“The benefit of doing this in conjunction with schools is that it’s mobile and can be done in their communities,” said Philip Keizer, a local health authority in Galveston County.
Keizer said Friday’s Pfizer news could mean approval in as little as two weeks for children 12 and older. Trials are currently underway for other children, and Keizer believes that approval for young children won’t take much longer.
“I think it’s realistic to expect that we will do almost all pre-school pre-school children starting in August,” Keizer said.
Dr Peter Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine agrees. He said there was pressure to immunize children by the fall.
Health experts, however, said the pressure doesn’t necessarily mean shortcuts. They assured the FDA would review the data before giving its approval.
“We didn’t see any major side effects at all,” Keizer said. “People worry about long term side effects, but I can tell you from everything we know about it that there is very little chance that it will have a long term impact on your children. “
In midsummer, most children may be vaccinated. This is a calendar that some parents have said they hope to see so that their children can return to school this fall.
“My kids just went back to school,” Davis said. “It was a little hard, but we all stay together.”
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While Galveston County wants to use schools, Houston and Harris County may not. The city plans to vaccinate children at mass sites, pharmacies and other organizations. The county said it is working on a plan for children, which does not yet include schools.
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