ENID, Okla. — COVID-19 vaccines now are available in Enid and surrounding areas for children ages 5 to 11.

Maggie Jackson, community engagement director for District 2 county health departments, said Garfield County Health Department and others in the district received shipments of the pediatric vaccines last weekend and began administering them on Monday.

“We have had some kiddos come in already, and children can come in for both a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine,” Jackson said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include children ages 5 to 11 years of age on Oct. 29, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended those children to get the vaccine shortly after.

The pediatric vaccine is administered in two doses three weeks apart and is specifically intended for children ages 5 to 11 and has a lower dose of 10 micrograms than the vaccine used for those 12 years of age and older, which has 30 micrograms, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health. More than 130,000 new doses of the pediatric vaccine were anticipated to be in Oklahoma by Friday.

According to the OSDH, there have been a total of 35,593 cases of COVID-19 among children ages 5 to 11 but no reported deaths as of Nov. 9.

Fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 but asymptomatic should be referred for COVID-19 testing but do not need to quarantine at home, according to the CDC on guidance for COVID-19 prevention in kindergarten through 12th grades.

Jackson said receiving the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine can help keep kids in school and help prevent them from getting sick.

“This group of kids is notorious for having all kinds of other sicknesses and illnesses, so ... when that kid has that extra layer of protection, then they’re not going to miss out on those family or school events,” she said.

COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available on the OSDH vaccine scheduler portal for Oklahomans ages 5 and older, but walk-ins are preferred at Garfield County Health Department.

Parents or guardians can bring children to receive the pediatric vaccine 8:30-11:30 a.m. and from 1-4 :30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Jackson added that other “pandemic partner providers” offering the pediatric vaccines include Great Salt Plains Health Center and 4 R Families Medical Clinic, both in Enid; Integris Medford Family Clinic; Great Salt Plains Health Center locations in Canton and Cherokee; and Canadian Valley Pharmacy in El Reno.

Jackson recommended that parents or guardians should reach out to pediatricians if they have questions or want more information about the pediatric vaccine.

Dr. Eve Switzer, a pediatrician at Northwest Pediatrics, said the No. 1 question she gets about children’s vaccines is if she recommends it.

“My answer is, ‘Yeah, absolutely,’” she said.

If parents or guardians don’t mention the COVID-19 vaccine, Switzer said she’ll bring it up and, if they want, provide further information. She also encourages parents and guardians to reach out to pediatricians if they have any questions and to get information from reliable sources.

Switzer said she thinks the COVID-19 vaccine being available to almost all age groups is important.

“I think this is really going to be the key for us to try to get past this pandemic,” she said. “I don’t see us getting out of the pandemic without people making sure their loves ones are protected.”

Northwest Pediatrics is planning to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic, by appointment only, sometime next week for patients, Switzer said. Any parents or guardians interested in signing their children up or can call Northwest Pediatrics at (580) 234-7070 to be notified once the inventory is received and get a time and date. Children who are not patients likely can be accommodated, as well, she added.

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McKendrick is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. 
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Kelci? Send an email to kelcim@enidnews.com.

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