SALINAS – The final hurdle in the vaccination approval process for children aged 5 to 11 with Pfizer vaccine was cleared on Wednesday as the United States’ Scientific Safety Review Working Group intervened, opening the way to arm shots for this age group.
“We learned this morning that the Western States Scientific Advisory Group has also reviewed all the data in detail and that they have also approved and approved the use of this vaccine in our young children aged 5 to 11,” said the specialist in infectious diseases. Montage Health’s Dr. Martha Blum at the Monterey County press conference Wednesday.
This means that approximately 43,000 Monterey County children aged 5 to 11, or 10% of the county’s population, are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control gave approval on Tuesday for emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group, and Monterey County received its first 5,100 doses in preparation for the start of their administration.
“We received a total of 900 doses of Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds,” said Karina Rusk, spokesperson for the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “The orange cap on the vials and the orange on the boxes indicate use for children – one-third of the adult dose.”
Anticipating the CDC’s approval, the health system coordinated with the Salinas Valley Medical Clinic to offer public vaccination for this age group in the same way as the public clinics it offered for vaccination. adults.
“It’s a really exciting time that we have a vaccine available for children in this age group,” said Dr. Mahendra Poudel, infectious disease specialist with the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.
Poudel explained the importance of being able to vaccinate this age group because of their sensitivity to COVID-19. Although the severity of the disease is not as severe, children are susceptible, half of these children may be asymptomatic and could pass the virus to parents, grandparents and other adults around them.
“This is a key step in bringing the pandemic under control,” Poudel said.
But flu season is underway and could complicate things for health care providers and hospitals.
Dr. Allen Radner, Chief Medical Officer of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, said: “The severity of the flu season is a question mark right now. We encourage everyone to get the flu shot because, just like COVID-19, vaccination is the best way to protect against serious illness or hospitalization. We are concerned with the start of the school year and the approaching holiday season, there will be more possibilities for the transmission of these contagious viruses. “
Radner added that while the health care system does not yet see many influenza cases and COVID-19 admissions remain stable, hospitals are busy.
“Our intensive care unit at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital is full and we are receiving requests for help from other less well-vaccinated areas, such as the Central Valley,” Radner said. “We are concerned that an increase in severe influenza cases or an increase in COVID-19 cases will profoundly stress our ability to provide hospital care. Again, the key to remember is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. “
At this point, Blum said Montage Health is not planning any pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
But Monterey County health official Dr Edward Moreno said there are several vaccine suppliers in the county. The county public health department has scheduled a clinic at the Breadbox in Salinas on Saturday that will include the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old and adults are recommended to go to my turn register. Moreno said it is also recommended to contact local pharmacies or health care providers to inquire about the vaccine in order to schedule appointments.
CVS Health has announced that some locations in California, including Monterey County, are making appointments for the Pfizer COVID-19 pediatric vaccine for ages 5 to 11. Injections will begin on Sunday with receipt and confirmation of vaccine supply. Parental or legal guardian consent is required and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Patients are encouraged to book an appointment online at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app to ensure availability. The CVS scheduler will only display appointments at CVS pharmacies that have Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine once the patient’s age is provided.
Monterey County’s Key COVID-19 Metrics webpage on Monday reported that the case rate is 4.8 per 100,000, the test positivity rate is 1.7%, and 11 hospitalizations. Last week, the county reported a case rate of 4.9 per 100,000, a test positivity rate of 2.0% and 7 hospitalizations. A month ago, the county’s case rate was 8.2 per 100,000, the test positivity rate was 3.2% and there have been 23 hospitalizations.
The California Immunization Registry reports an 84% increase in Monterey County residents aged 12 and older who have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 76% are fully immunized.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office reports 10 active cases of COVID-19 and no hospitalizations among the 889 inmate population. As of last week, there were eight active cases and no hospitalizations among its 898 residents at this time.