Md. health care providers authorized to vaccinate 5 to 11-year-olds against COVID-19
MARYLAND – Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan announced health care providers were authorized to start scheduling appointments and clinics to administer Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages five to eleven.
“Our state health team has been working for many weeks, in anticipation of federal approval, to mobilize detailed operational plans for vaccinating children,” said Gov. Hogan. “Based on requests from providers across the state, Maryland placed an initial order of 180,000 doses, which began arriving directly from Pfizer earlier this week.”
Gov. Hogan says the vaccine is 90.7% effective for symptomatic children and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians. Maryland health officials say the packaging for the 5 to 11-year-olds vaccines will look different. They say that’s to make sure that the smaller doses are not confused with the larger ones.
Some doses of the vaccine are already available for the youngest age group, according to Gov. Hogan. The White House has said it will take them more time to get the doses distributed nationally, but additional doses are expected in the coming weeks. Gov. Hogan says the White House has committed to providing enough vaccines for all Marylanders ages five to eleven.
“Through every step of this planning and preparation process, state health officials have been working closely with pediatricians, pharmacies, local health departments, as well as with the vaccine equity task force,” he said.
Maryland health officials have been coordinating with all 24 school districts to host voluntary vaccination clinics for children. Gov. Hogan says each district has agreed to do so. The governor adds the state will provide additional staffing to school systems and local jurisdictions for those clinics.
Vaccine Equity Task Force teams will also have boots on the ground to ensure underserved and hard to reach areas are included, according to Governor Hogan. Marylanders can also expect a new round of radio and television public service announcements about vaccinating five to eleven-year-olds.
“Our primary goal with all of these actions is to make sure that parents have all of the information that they need to make the best informed decision for their family, because ultimately this decision is up to, and should be up to, Maryland parents and families,” said Gov. Hogan.
During Wednesday’s press conference, the governor said he knows many parents have been anxiously waiting for this announcement.
“Some have already decided to move forward immediately to protect their kids, to avoid unnecessary outbreaks and disruptive quarantines, and to help keep kids in school,” he said. “I also know that there are some parents who want to do what’s best for their children, but still have concerns or questions that they need answers to. It is important that they get all of those questions answered, which is why we’ve asked these pediatric experts to be here today, and it’s why we strongly encourage parents who do have concerns to talk directly to their pediatricians.”
To date, Maryland has administered more than 8.5 million COVID-19 vaccines and provided 430,000 booster shots. More than 86% of adult Marylanders have been vaccinated. The governor reports that Maryland’s positivity rate dropped 41%, the state’s case rate is down 43%, and hospitalizations decreased 35% in recent weeks.
“We’ve gotten to this point by listening to the experts, and by following the science, and that is exactly what we will continue to do as we work to get those remaining, last 1.5% of seniors, and the remaining 13.4% of adults in our state vaccinated, and as we work to get more of our school aged children vaccinated,” said Gov. Hogan.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations, click here, or call 1 (855) MD-GOVAX.