By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — California officials have launched a robust COVID-19 vaccine program to inoculate newly eligible 5-to-11-year-old residents with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The state announced last week that the federal government had allocated 1.2 million pediatric doses to be dispersed in California. More than 4,000 locations are prepared to vaccinate kids ages 5-11 as supply ramps up. In addition to medical providers, local health departments and schools, the state has partnered with after-school programs, such as the Sierra Health Foundation and the Alliance for Boys & Girls, to set up 84 pop-up clinics statewide.
“Vaccines are how we end this pandemic, and they’re how we keep our kids safe — it’s time to get our children the protection they need from this deadly virus, especially as we head into the winter season,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “California is leading the nation in vaccinations with 54 million administered and 87% of the eligible population with at least one dose, and we’re moving swiftly to implement a robust and equitable vaccination program that will cover this newly eligible age group.”
The state’s vaccine allocation came just days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of a pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine among children ages 5-11 Tuesday, determining that the reduced-dose shot is safe and effective for use among this age group.
According to the governor’s office, 3,100 school-located clinics are already established, with an additional 800 planned for November and December. The state estimates that these clinics will cover more than 2.4 million students.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.