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If the FDA approves emergency use authorization of its COVID vaccine for kids, those 5 years and older will all be eligible for a shot. (Pexels)

Note: This story was updated on Nov. 3 to include the latest information and correct the vaccine efficacy to 90% for this age group.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine application for emergency use authorization in 5-to-11-year-olds on Oct. 29 with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommending it on Nov. 3. The vaccine will be available to kids starting this week.


With 2.9 million Texas children in this age group, state health officials say this is a "big factor" in reducing the virality of COVID. At a Monday press conference, the Texas Department of State Health Services released info on the rollout efforts of the vaccine for children.

Here are some of the answers to your questions.

When and where will it be available?

St. David's Healthcare staff unpack the first few shipments of its initial supply of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. (St. David's Healthcare)

Since the FDA and CDC both greenlighted the vaccine, they will start shipping out almost immediately with the first vaccines for children available this week.

DSHS has already put in an order of vaccines under the federal government's "pre-order prior to launch" program.

COVID vaccine providers will begin receiving those first shipments 1-5 days after the approval. DSHS has put in three different orders for vaccines. The second shipment will arrive 3-7 days after approval and the third shipment will take place 5-9 days after the approval.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention will meet on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 to discuss best practices for administration, allowing for the first shots to be administered after.

The state will be allocated 1.3 million doses across 814 providers in 120 counties. Individual county allocations have not been released but each county was able to request how many doses they may need. Federal retail pharmacies, such as H-E-B and Walgreens, are getting their own shipments.

Austin Public Health has said they will be part of the pediatric vaccine rollout with four different established vaccine locations set up by Nov. 8 and a school vaccine pop-up on Nov. 15.

The health department advises using its vaccine finder tool to find the nearest vaccine provider near you.

How is this version of the vaccine different than the first one?

Abbott says COVID vaccine to be available to other groups by end of March

The COVID vaccine for 5-11-year-olds is one-third of the dosage of the current vaccine available to those 12 years of age and older.

It is being identified as the orange cap vaccine, unlike the current purple cap. The purple cap vaccine cannot be administered to younger kids, according to the state health department.

For this age group, the vaccine is 90% effective. The first and second doses are the same and will be advised to be taken 21 days apart.

What are the side effects for children?

During clinical trials, it was reported that some kids in this age group felt pain at the injection site, fatigue and headaches.

The data submitted to the FDA shows no serious complications, such as cases of myocarditis inflammation of the heart muscle, or pericarditis, inflammation of the outer lining of the heart—rare complications that have been reported among young boys and men receiving the vaccine in other trials.

How will this affect herd immunity?

With so many children across the state, DSHS said "we need to have as many people vaccinated as possible."

State health officials said the herd immunity threshold is still being looked into, but with 3 million children soon to be able to get the vaccine, it will be a big factor in reducing the viral load in the state.

"Until we're able to add all the children, we'll see a bigger wave in stamping down the pandemic," DSHS' Imelda Garcia said during the conference.

Of those 12 and older, 72% are fully vaccinated in Travis County as of Monday.

I'm not sure if my child needs this vaccine. Why should I have them get it?

DSHS says this vaccine is important for young kids because it will protect the older population and others around them as well as themselves. The department says to ask experts and doctors questions if you are hesitant so you can be confident with your decision.


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