COLUMBUS – Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting an emergency use authorization (EUA) to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine formulation, and pending a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is announcing that vaccine providers across the state can begin vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 years old as soon as the CDC makes its recommendation.
“Today is a day that many children and numerous adults — parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, pediatricians, teachers, and coaches — have long awaited,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA. “The authorization of this COVID-19 vaccine for younger Ohioans is yet another crucial turning point in this pandemic, allowing us to better protect young children from severe complications from COVID-19. This deadly virus has killed more than 24,000 Ohioans, and has caused nearly 206,000 pediatric infections among those ages 17 and younger.”
While children are less likely than adults to get severely ill from COVID-19, they most certainly can, and do, become ill. As of Nov. 1, more than 2,000 Ohio children under 18 had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 15 had died.
“Just like adults, when children become sick from COVID-19, they can spread it to others and suffer severe health outcomes, or even death,” explained Dr. Vanderhoff. “When more people are vaccinated, it lessens the opportunity for dangerous variants to take hold, helping us to get control of this pandemic.”
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine pediatric formulation is a smaller 10 microgram dose compared with the dose of 30 micrograms used in adults and adolescents 12 and older. It is arriving in Ohio on a staggered schedule over the coming days. Providers across the state, including local health departments, pediatricians, family physicians, community health centers, adult and children’s hospitals, and pharmacies, are receiving shipments and will be scheduling appointments or accepting walk-ins. As the shipments arrive and following the CDC’s recommendation, providers can begin to administer the vaccine. Ohioans are encouraged to call their provider for more information or visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) to locate a provider or make an appointment.
There are an estimated 997,570 Ohioans ages 5 to 11 years old, bringing the total of Ohioans eligible to be vaccinated based on age to 10,998,272, approximately 94% of the state’s population.