CARTHAGE, Miss.–You can expect to hear state health leaders talking about getting 5 to 11 year-olds vaccinated for coronavirus soon. In anticipation of the final approval steps for the vaccine, they’ve ordered 50,000 doses to be delivered to the state.
“There’s still some steps that we have to go through to be able to start administering vaccine for that age group,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers at a Thursday virtual news conference with the state Dept. of Health.
Byers said that while an FDA advisory panel has given its approval for the vaccine, FDA emergency approval must happen, and he anticipates that next week.
The FDA panel that approved the vaccine was not overly enthusiastic about it,
“It just seems to me that in some ways, we’re vaccinating children to protect the adults, and it should be the other way around,” said committee member Dr. James Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College in Tennessee. “I do believe that children at highest risk do need to be vaccinated. But vaccinating all of the children. That seems a bit much for me.”
Other members of the panel were worried about side effects yet to be measured.
The vote was still 17-0 in favor.
For Byers the next steps are logistical.
“Now we’re starting to look at how we’re going to hit the ground running when we can, when we receive CDC approval.”
The state will also begin offering the Moderna booster shots Monday. Right now Pfizer boosters are the only ones available.
People with underlying conditions like obesity or hypertension, or compromised immune systems are eligible, along with people in high-risk jobs and people 65 or older.