Starting next week, New York City public schools serving children ages 5 through 11 will get temporary vaccination sites, now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19’s use on children between those ages.
The move will help pave the wave for 400,000 kids to get the shot once officials set up vaccinations sites at 1,070 school sites on Monday, Nov. 8.
“New York City remains one step ahead in the fight against COVID-19,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “School vaccination sites will make it as convenient as possible for our children to get life-saving protection. This is a win for families and a win for our ongoing recovery efforts.”
City officials began setting up pop-up vaccination sites at schools serving middle and high school students after the FDA approved the Pfizer shot for children between the ages of 12 and 17 in order to boost vaccination rates in schools ahead of the first day of classes on Sept. 13. Now, officials report that 78% of kids ages 12 through 17 are at least partially vaccinated.
“After two years of disruption, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for – this life-saving vaccine is available to the vast majority of the young people in our schools,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter. “To every parent, when you get your child vaccinated you are not only protecting them from this disease, but you are also protecting everyone else in their life and ensuring that their education goes uninterrupted this year.”
Each school site will host a vaccination clinic for one day between Nov. 8 and Nov. 15. In order for kids to get the jab, parents must give verbal consent to clinicians in person or over the phone to another adult. Clinic staff will set up second-dose appointments ith families at vaccination sites outside of school, officials said.
Families do not need to set up appointments for students to get the COVID-19 vaccine and can check to see when and if their clinicians will visit their child’s school on the DOE’s website.
But kids will only be able to get the shot at either 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. slots depending on the school.
“The last 20 months have been emotional for so many New York City parents, caregivers, and children,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. “The COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds will keep our children safer and bring us closer to ending the pandemic. Get your child vaccinated as soon as possible to protect them and our city.”
Over 1.9 million COVID cases have been reported in children 5 to 11 years old with officials reporting the age group is increasingly making up a larger portion of new infections. Kids aged 5 to 11 made up 10.6 of the total cases of the virus during the week of Oct. 10, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency also reported that so far over 8,300 children between the ages of 5 and 11 who have contracted the virus have been hospitalized a third of which have needed to be admitted to an Intensive Care Unit. Although hospitalizations remain uncommon among children who contract COVID, that number grew nearly five times in size amid the delta variant surge over the summer.
Both Pfizer and BioNTech reported to the FDA that the vaccine, which is administered to children in a 10-microgram dose to kids 5-11, was 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 with antibody response to the inoculation was comparable to that found in 16 to 25-year-olds. The smaller vaccine dose 5-11-year-old receive is a third of the amount adults get when vaccinated.