WYOMING – Vaccines meant to help prevent transmission and serious illness related to COVID-19 are now endorsed and recommended for younger, school-aged children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this week that it has endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, with an appropriate-sized dosed for that age group.
Officials at the Wyoming Department of Health have started rolling out Wyoming’s ability to accommodate those wishing to vaccine their children in that age group. Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer and epidemiologist, said she encourages those in the age group to get vaccinated.
“It can help keep kids stay in school and help them participate more safely in all sorts of activities,” Harrist said.
This means that children between 5 and 11 can receive the Pfizer jab with two doses spaced three weeks apart. Children can receive other vaccines, including typical flu shot, at the same time.
“We have certainly seen children become infected with the COVID-19 virus. Some have been very ill and some may be facing both short- and long-term health issues,” Harrist said. “We also know children can spread COVID-19 to others, including the very youngest who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, and those of any age who may be especially vulnerable to the virus and its effects.”
Clinical trials were held among volunteer children in that age range, administered by scientists and medical experts. Based upon those results, the vaccine was determined safe and effective if administered in a smaller dose than the adult amount. Harrist said millions of children aged 12 and older have already been vaccinated across the country are also proof of its safety and ability.
Harrist also said Wyoming remains vulnerable to COVID-19 largely due to the aggressive Delta variant that previously made its first sweeping wave through the state.
“For those people who are eligible and not yet vaccinated, getting started with COVID-19 vaccines is the most important step available to help prevent COVID-19 illness and spread in our state,” Harrist said. “It is the best way to reduce our vulnerability to this virus and its effects.”
Parents are asked to contact their local public health office or pharmacy for information on getting children aged 5 to 11 vaccinated. A beginning supply of the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine has been distributed across the state.
Sublette County Public Health continues to offer vaccinations at its drive-through clinics – at the Sublette County Fairgrounds on Tuesdays and outside the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale on Thursdays. Registration is requested at www.sublettewycovid.com/vaccines, but walk-ups are welcome.
As of the Sublette County Public Health update issued on Oct. 28, Public Health has fully vaccinated 3,024 people in the county. That is about 30.76 percent of the county’s population – one of the lowest rates in Wyoming and the country.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after one dose of the Janssen vaccine. As of now, the Pfizer is the only vaccine available to children and youth.