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Getting Kids 5-11 Vaccinated Will Rely On Pediatricians, Local Health Experts Under White House Plan

The Pfizer shot is expected to be approved for that age group — which covers about 28 million kids — in coming weeks, with other vaccines coming down the pipeline.

A student looks on as public officials tour classrooms at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy while CPS continues its reopening plans in the Lake View neighborhood on March 1, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The White House is laying out its plans for vaccinating kids 5-11 against COVID-19.

The Pfizer shot is expected to be approved for that age group — which covers about 28 million kids — in coming weeks, with other vaccines coming down the pipeline.

The Biden administration anticipates the campaign will rely on local health departments, with its campaign focused on getting kids their shots at pediatricians’ offices, pharmacies and health clinics, according to a New York Times report.

That follows what Chicago’s leaders have planned for local children.

Local officials have been “planning for a long time” how to vaccinate younger kids, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a news conference last week.

Chicago Public Schools has 34 school-based clinics where kids might be able to get their shots, CEO Pedro Martinez said at the news conference. They’ll also work with partners “to shore up where we have gaps.”

But the school district is still working with the health department and others to craft a full plan, with more details coming in the next two weeks, Martinez said.

Chicago already has a “strong” network for vaccinating kids, as there are hundreds of pediatricians who regularly vaccinate kids against various illnesses, Arwady said. Officials have also worked to ensure pharmacy workers are trained to vaccinate kids, she said.

And the city might bring back larger vaccination sites at City Colleges to meet the demand for shots among kids 5-11, Arwady said.

“Every single day, we’re in conversations with CDC and partners, doing some specific planning to make sure there’s good distribution,” she said.

Arwady has previously said she expects Pfizer to be approved this fall for younger kids, though officials must first do a thorough review of the data to ensure they’re safe. Kids will likely get a lower dose than older people, she said.

“I can’t tell you for sure what day” the vaccines will get approved, Arwady said. “Always, we have to wait for the FDA and then the CDC to have that full guidance. And I want to make sure that we have all of the safety data to present to parents.”


• In Illinois, about 7.1 million people — or 56.38 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 29,374 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 15,132,881 vaccine doses of the 18,146,865 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.58 million Chicagoans — or 58.9 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 64.1 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Thirty-six Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Tuesday.

• At least 25,527 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,817 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,447 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,675,793.

• Since Tuesday, 114,281 tests were reported statewide. In all, 34,208,215 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 1.9 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2 percent Tuesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.3 percent. It was at 2.4 percent Tuesday.

• As of Tuesday night, 350 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 165 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, six deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 5,861 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than three deaths per day, down 21 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has 408 had confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 324,133 confirmed cases. An average of 287 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 12 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is down 10 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 2 percent, unchanged from the week prior.

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