(WGHP) — If pediatric vaccines are approved for children 5-11 years old, Triad health departments will receive hundreds of doses as soon as late next week.
In total, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services expects 411,000 doses, allowing them to vaccinate approximately 46% of the eligible population.
The Guilford County Health Department could receive 3,300 doses as part of the first wave. Forsyth County reports 3,900. Health leaders in Randolph County plan to get 900 doses of Pfizer vaccine, and Alamance County expects to get 600.
“This is the best way to protect your child from serious illness, and potentially death from COVID, is to get them vaccinated. It’s the best tool we have,” said Dr. Emmanuel Walter Jr., chief medical officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.
Duke researchers say the 10 microgram dose of Pfizer is safe and effective for kids 5-11 years old, who would receive about a third of the dose given to adults.
Doctors have been monitoring 4,500 children since March. 3,000 of them received the Pfizer vaccine, the others got a placebo.
Walter said there were breakthrough cases of COVID.
“There were 16 in the placebo group that occurred, and three that occurred in the vaccination group. That calculated out, because it was a two to one randomization, gave us an estimate for 90% efficacy of the vaccine,” he explained.
Walter says the vaccine benefits outweigh the risk of side effects like myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.
“The risk for developing myocarditis really seems to be greater after the second dose of vaccine; it’s more commonly seen in males, particularly young males within the ages of 16-30. The rate in that particular group is about 40 per million second doses of vaccine received,” he said.
Orange caps will distinguish the lower dose vaccine to help providers know which vials are meant only for children if federal agents give the final stamp of approval.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said there will be plenty of supply.
“We have about 750 locations in which we think vaccine for our 5-11 year old’s will be available,” she said. “They’ll be in pediatricians’ offices, public health departments, but also remember our pharmacies across the state.”
Pediatric vaccines will not ship until the FDA’s emergency use authorization has been granted. If that happens, it could be delivered within nine days of that decision.
The schedule for doses would be the same, kids 5-11 would get two doses about three weeks apart.