The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on November 3 that children ages 5 to 11 were eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart for full protection, and is the first and only vaccine currently available for this age group. Vaccinations for this age group will begin as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases the associated clinical guidance and vaccinators are able to review and complete the necessary trainings. It is important that parents and guardians are patient as Wisconsin vaccinators take the necessary steps to be properly informed and trained before beginning vaccination.
“The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but I know it has been especially hard for our kids,” said Governor Tony Evers. “Now with a COVID-19 vaccine available to nearly all school-aged children, we can do more to protect our kids from this virus. Whether they are at school, playing with their friends, or spending time with family, vaccinating your kids means they can do the things they love while also staying safe and healthy.”
After successful clinical trials and a rigorous review of all available data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Pfizer’s request to expand the emergency use authorization (EUA) to include children 5 to 11 years old on October 29. On November 2, the CDC Director officially confirmed the vaccine is safe and recommended the vaccine to this age group.
“Our nation’s leading medical experts have reviewed the available data and confirmed that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for children 5 to 11 years of age,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “We will soon begin vaccinating more of Wisconsin’s children to protect them from the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 and reduce disruptions in and out of the classroom. We are urging parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated as soon as they can to protect them and those around them.”
Disease activity remains very high across Wisconsin. Children and youth under 18 continue to represent the highest number of new confirmed cases compared to other age groups. COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, can have a serious impact on your child’s health.
Infection with the Delta variant has resulted in nearly three times the number of children in the hospital in the U.S. since early summer. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1,600 Wisconsinites under 20 years old have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Vaccination is a safe and critical tool in both combating further COVID-19 illness among children and stopping the spread in our communities.
Parents and guardians of children ages 5 to 11 can schedule a vaccination using a variety of options, including with their health care provider, at community-based vaccination clinics, local and tribal health departments, or pharmacies. To locate a provider administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine parents are encouraged to visit Vaccines.gov.
In addition to getting children vaccinated, DHS also urges Wisconsin families to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their communities: mask up when in indoor public settings or outside where physical distancing is not possible, stay home if you are feeling sick, and get tested if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.