Grand Strand area hospitals prep to distribute COVID vaccines to 5-11 year olds

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) -The Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine in kids aged 5 to 11 years old and Grand Strand-area healthcare centers are getting ready to distribute.

The CDC is meeting this week to discuss authorization for emergency use.

But operations director at Tidelands Health Jason Self said they’re getting the health system ready now, so they can avoid any delays once the doses are approved.

“It does come in a different vial. There’s also a different syringe that we use, a different needle that we use,” Self added.

If approved, kids in this age group will get one third of the dose adults get. Providers won’t just be able to take less vaccine out of the same vial for those twelve and up, and Self added they’re already training staff now to give the smaller doses.

He anticipates high demand, since he’s not sure if all providers for adults will try to get vaccines for this age group too. Tidelands will momentarily just have doses at their pediatric office, and then will expand to all primary care offices as rollout continues.

He said supply is not an issue.

“We won’t run out, we’ve worked closely with DHEC and we’ve got a pre-authorized order in,” Self said.

Conway Medical Center is also preparing.

A spokesperson for the hospital said, CMC plans to have the vaccine available for that age group in their pediatric offices as well and will host clinics in the future for the age group.

Still, many parents are mixed on if they want their child to get vaccinated. Data from DHEC shows the 12-19 age group has one of the lowest rates throughout the state.

DHEC said in a statement to WMBF News they don’t anticipate requiring the vaccine for K-12 students while the vaccine is still under emergency use for that age group.

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