MEMPHIS, Tenn.– After months of waiting, some parents in Memphis and Mid-South can likely breathe a sigh of relief after the head of the CDC gave the final approval for the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Wednesday.
This means some pediatrician offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and others can soon begin distributing shots.
Dr. Nehali Patel, an infectious disease expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, oversaw the Pfizer trial for younger children that looked at the possible side effects and how well the vaccine works. She said there is nothing to worry about.
“I want to reassure them that the vaccine is safe, and we’ve studied it in a large number in that age group and we haven’t seen anything to be worried about,” Dr. Patel said. “I would categorize it as a landmark progress in moving science forward and I think it’s a great decision made by the FDA and the CDC in protecting children and getting us back to normal.”
It’s believed the vaccine can also be effective against the highly contagious Delta variant. Dr. Nick Hysmith, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s hospital, calls it a game changer.
“I think it’s going to help us slow the pandemic and help us prevent another peak later in the winter. So, yes, I think it’s a game changer and a safe vaccine,” he said.
As for the vaccine being in Memphis, Dr. Hysmith said it’s on the way.
“I can say we place our order the vaccine at Le Bonheur last week and we expect those doses any day now. We are already looking at how we can roll it out with events,” he said.
Walgreens says the Pfizer vaccine will be available by appointments at select stores beginning Saturday, November 6th.
For more information on Walgreens vaccinations and how to schedule an appointment, click here.
CVS says it’ll be at select locations beginning Sunday, November 7th as the fight against COVID-19 enters a new phase in protecting younger children.
For more information on CVS vaccinations and to schedule an appointment, click here.
Le Bonheur says it will be working and meeting with several of its pediatrician partners to determine how the vaccine for younger kids will be administered.
The Shelby County health department will begin vaccinating children on Thursday at 8 a.m.