DHEC urges parents to get children vaccinated, supports CDC approval

State - Regional

In this June 6, 2021 file photo, a youth receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the central Israeli city of Rishon LeZion. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is working with vaccine providers to get children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated, and parents can start getting children vaccinated Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 on Tuesday. The CDC had similar results as their adult trials, showing it would be nearly 91% effective in children ages 5 to 11, according to the news release.

“Approval of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 is a major step forward for South Carolina and the rest of our nation in our fight against COVID-19,” DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer said. “We want people to know that a great deal of research and analysis went into the approval of the vaccine for this age group. This research has shown that the vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 –11.”

DHEC anticipated approval of the vaccine and began a roll out plan last month. The federal government informed South Carolina that it would receive 152,100 pediatric vaccines the first week the vaccines are available, already receiving 60,000 of these doses as of Wednesday and expecting the rest by Friday, according to the news release.

South Carolina is expected to receive weekly shipments starting next week. The federal government states there are enough doses for all 28 million children 5 to 11. Because of this, a phased rollout will not be needed like adult vaccines, according to the news release.

Vaccines are being distributed to over 250 providers, with a majority being pediatricians and family practices. Some of the hospital systems will be getting vaccines to distribute in their networks, according to the news release. It is recommended to contact a provider for availability before showing up for the vaccine.

Visit the DHEC COVID-19 webpage for more information or call the Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110.

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