OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Department of Health worked with schools and health care providers to establish a childhood immunization plan for approval by federal regulators.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared pediatric doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 and earlier this week, on Tuesday, November 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also expressed consent.
âThis decision has been made for months,â said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “The vaccine will help protect children from infection and further reduce the spread of the virus.”
Pfizer pediatric vaccine accounts for one-third of the dose given to people 12 years of age and older. It is given as two injections, three weeks apart. According to the Pfizer-BioNTech study, this lower dose is still nearly 91% effective in preventing symptoms of COVID-19.
âData submitted by Pfizer also shows that we can expect fewer side effects in children from the pediatric dose than in adolescents and young adults who have received the full dose,â said the County Medical Director. ‘Oswego, Christina Liepke, MD “Specifically, the rate of the most common side effects – headaches, fatigue, and muscle aches – was lower in those aged 5 to 11 than among those aged 18 to 55.
In the United States, more than 1.9 million children aged 5 to 11 are believed to have contracted COVID-19. More than 8,600 of them were hospitalized with 172 deaths and thousands of cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
“COVID-19 poses a greater risk to children – whether they are healthy or have underlying illnesses like diabetes or obesity – than this vaccine,” Huang said. âEven better than some of the other diseases that we regularly vaccinate children against. I urge parents to get their children vaccinated, even if a child has already had COVID-19. “
Dr Liepke agreed, âCOVID-19 has changed the lives of our children immeasurably. For the past year and a half, this has affected their educational growth and mental health. I am grateful that we are now seeing progress in the form of a vaccine for this age group. I strongly encourage parents to contact their children’s health care provider if they have any questions about their child’s immunization.
The Department of Health worked with local school districts to develop and distribute a survey to parents to determine their interest and suggestions for immunizing their children. Based on the responses to the survey, the decision was made to organize pediatric vaccination clinics in some schools in the coming weeks. Plans will be announced when finalized.
The department also works with ConnextCare and primary health care providers to ensure childhood immunizations.
For more information, visit the Oswego County Department of Health’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19 or call their COVID-19 hotline at 315-349- 3330. The telephone lines are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information on emotional supports, visit the Mental Hygiene Division of the Oswego County Social Services Department at www.oswegocounty.com/mentalhygiene.
Under the New York State Public Health Act, the Oswego County Department of Health is the local public health authority regarding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in County of Oswego. The Oswego County Department of Health is working closely with the New York State Department of Health regarding COVID-19 surveillance, response and reporting.