White House COVID task force, Triad health departments prepare for possible rollout of kids’ vaccine

Coronavirus

(WGHP) — According to the White House COVID-19 task force, children 5-11 years old could be eligible for vaccination in just three weeks.

“We’ll make it convenient and easy for parents and kids to get vaccinated. We have the supply, and we will be ready,” White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients said ahead of the possible approval.

Forsyth County’s public health director expects to see 58-66% of children 5-11 rolling up their sleeves, approximately 20,000 kids in total.

He zeroed in on Thanksgiving week Tuesday as a possible option for families to take their children for vaccines.

“That whole week schools are out, we are open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that week,” he said. “We already do Saturday options, on the second Saturday of every month looking from 9-12, possibly including some more Saturday options in November and December make the vaccine accessible.”

Both Randolph and Guilford counties anticipate vaccinating 58% of the same age group.

Surry County is preparing for a lower number, with just 30% expected to get vaccinated.

“We’ve asked states to plan outreach and education campaigns focused on parents and families in the communities. And we’ve communicated and will continue to communicate that equity, as it has been with all of our efforts, needs to be front and center. That means ensuring that we have sites in areas of high social vulnerability and also in rural areas,” Zients said Wednesday.

White House officials said vaccines for eligible kids are key to keeping classrooms open. Through the end of September, nearly one million students nationwide have been impacted by school closures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with states on possible testing programs to keep more kids in school after exposure.

“A test-to-stay policy would be a policy where rather than students quarantining after potential exposure, that they could potentially instead come back to school but test so that we would know, as they’re returning to school on a frequent testing basis, that they were safe coming back to school,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

If approved, kids will get a lower dose of the vaccine. White House officials say they will have enough supply.

A spokesperson for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools says the district is working with the health department to have a vaccine clinic for students that would offer the COVID vaccine during the next couple of months.

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