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Vermont children can sign up for COVID shot Wednesday

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 9:10 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:05 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and state health officials say registration can begin Wednesday for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to11.

Now that final CDC approval has been granted, officials say registration will start Wednesday at 8 a.m.

Families and caregivers will be able to make an appointment for state-run or school-based sites, on the Health Department’s website or by calling 855-722-7878. The school-based sites begin Monday, Nov. 8, and will last for a six-week period.

Officials say the shot will also be available at pharmacies, some pediatrician offices, and family practices.

“When you look at the age breakdown of those in the hospital, those who are more vulnerable by age and underlying condition are ending up in the hospital even if they are vaccinated. Even more of a reason to get that booster shot and get the full protection,” said DFR Commissioner Mike Pieciak. He says forecast models for COVID remain uncertain for the state, as they have for the past month.

But leaders say that picture could shift dramatically in the weeks ahead with the vaccination rollout for children. Pfizer data says the shots -- about a third the size of an adult dose -- are 91% effective in protecting against delta.

Dr. Rebecca Bell, the president of the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that after months of testing and review, the vaccine is safe and effective and that the benefits far outweigh the risks. She says it’s impossible to determine which kids will have severe outcomes from COVID, including long hauler syndrome.

“We can’t shield our children from being exposed to the SARS COVID virus. They will be exposed, likely many times over their lifetime. Vaccination will prepare them for that eventuality,” Bell said.

Vaccinated children won’t have to quarantine, allowing them to stay in school and keeping parents at work. Gov. Phil Scott says turning to pediatricians and trusted sources is critical.

“You don’t have to listen to me, but please, listen to them and get your kids vaccinated, and I’m hopeful most will,” said Scott, R-Vermont.

Vermont is expected to get 23,000 child doses by the end of the week and parents are urged to register online for clinics.

“Our goal is to get as many doses into students’ arms before the holiday break at the end of December -- that’s first and second dose,” Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said.

Officials say those shots, along with getting tested and masking, will help keep cases down.

As of Tuesday, Vermont health officials reported 168 new coronavirus cases for a total of 40,513. There have been a total of 369 deaths. The state’s percent positive seven-day average is 2.9%. A total of 517,604 people have been tested, and 34,704 have recovered.

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