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Local health departments prepare for approval of COVID-19 vaccine for younger children

Posted at 5:14 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 17:14:23-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — As the Food and Drug Administration’s outside vaccine advisors met to decide whether to recommend approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, doctors and health leaders watched for professional and personal reasons.

There is work being done around the country and here in metro Detroit to prepare to get the vaccine out as soon as it is available.

“This really has the potential to be a game-changer,” said Dr. Anurag Malani, the Infectious Diseases Lead for COVID-19 Response at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

Dr. Malani is also the dad of a ten-year-old.

“As a dad first and foremost, I want my son to be safe and healthy and I want him to go to school,” said Dr. Malani.

He says watching the process gives him optimism.

“These vaccines have the most scrutinized vaccines in U.S. history and global history and because of that we know these vaccines are safe,” said Dr. Malani.

“We have already pre-ordered to accommodate the younger population,” said Jennifer Floyd, the Deputy Health Officer for Wayne County.

Floyd says they have orders that are scheduled to be fulfilled as soon as approval is final. After the FDA authorizes the vaccine, it still needs approval from the CDC vaccine advisory group and the CDC director.

“We will allow those pediatric vaccination doses to be available at all of our vaccination sites as well as in-home appointments,” said Floyd.

The Wayne County Health Department is offering vaccines, one by one in-home, and at mass vaccination sites to make sure there are no barriers.

A key partner in delivering the vaccine to children will be schools.

“We have 43 municipalities. It is a big jurisdiction. The biggest in the state,” said Floyd

“We have been working really closely with Dr. Vitti and his administration to make sure the youth can get their vaccine too,” said Denise Fair Razo, Detroit’s Chief Public Health Officer.

Fair Razo says if you have questions, many local health departments will have events where you can talk directly to doctors.

“It is really the parents who will be making the decision about whether their children will be getting the vaccine or not. We have several webinars lined up in the City of Detroit for parents who are concerned,” said Fair Razo.

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