SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- New developments have emerged as the White House announces plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children when shots are approved for ages 5 to 11, possibly in early November.
Local experts said Wednesday that although the White House has spoken, they’re still waiting for state guidance.
“There is a plan in place for vaccinating individuals, children,” said Dr. Armando Paez, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Medical Center.
The planning stages are underway across the nation after the White House unveiled its plans on Wednesday to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for young children if the Food and Drug Administration approves Pfizer’s request to authorize the vaccine for that age group and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off.
“We will be ready to get shots in arms. Kids have different needs than adults and our operational planning is geared to meet those specific needs including by offering vacations in settings that kids and parents are familiar with and trust,” said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
Parents: what are you planning to do once the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for ages 5-11?
Some of those plans include offering the vaccine in 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, as well as pharmacies and clinics while also partnering with the Children’s Hospital Association. The White House said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds.
Paez told Western Mass News that Baystate is beginning to talk about their plans if the shot is approved, but need Governor Charlie Baker to come up with a plan for the state.
“We will follow Massachusetts allocating for vaccines and CDC,” Paez noted.
The White House on Wednesday unveiled its plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, pending US Food and Drug Administration authorization.
Meanwhile, an FDA meeting was expected on Wednesday to authorize booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, including allowing mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster doses among all three manufacturers.
Paez said if approved, it’s likely booster doses for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson will first open up to the group currently eligible for a Pfizer booster dose - 65 and older or those who are at high-risk or work in high-risk settings.
“The expectation for what is being alluded to is most likely it’s the same population that will be targeted,” Paez added.
FDA advisers will meet next week to discuss Pfizer’s request for children 5 to 11.