DES MOINES, Iowa — Local and state health officials are making plans this week in anticipation of federal leaders approving the emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years old.
According to an Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson, 99,000 doses will begin arriving between Oct. 27 and Nov. 4 for the rollout of the shots to young children.
The vaccines will go to county health departments and other local vaccine providers for administration. Pediatricians, rural health care centers, pharmacies and family medical clinics will all be points of care for the vaccine administration.
In Webster County, the local county health department is making plans to host a clinic either the same day or the day after the CDC gives full authorization. That could come as early as Nov. 4.
"We will do whatever we need to do to canvass the community," said Kari Prescott, head of Webster County Health Department. "We'll go to small towns to make sure that the vaccination is accessible. And there's really no barriers to anybody that really wants the shot. We should be able to give it to them."
Prescott recognizes that newly eligible children will be in school during the day, unable to get the shot through big clinics. So the county is organizing drive-thru clinics for nights and weekends after the announcement is made.
That includes working with the school district to determine if there is an early out day to set up an on-site vaccination clinic.
Going into day care centers or families' homes are other options to administer the vaccine to kids, Prescott said.
Local 5 contacted several school districts in central Iowa: all of them pointed to local county health departments, pharmacies and medical centers as locations they are telling parents to vaccinate their kids.
IDPH estimates about 284,000 Iowa children fall into this age group. Kids 12 and up have been eligible for the Pfizer vaccine since May.
State officials said they will be able to order more doses every week as necessary after the initial batch of 99,000 doses arrives.
Parents need to give consent to their children and must be present during the administration process.
Prescott said the Webster County Health Department is working to get larger spaces for the upcoming vaccination clinics to allow for more spacing and privacy for the young kids.
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