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Hospitals prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 5-11, once CDC gives final sign-off

Right now the state says there are 479,895 kids in the 5-11 age group, and they hope to get 50% of them vaccinated in 12 weeks.

DENVER — Young children are even closer to getting the COVID-19 vaccine after the FDA approved emergency use authorization for Pfizer's vaccine to be given to children ages 5 to 11. 

Now, the state is working on partnerships to get kids the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, and are planning out more than 100 mobile clinics and events across the state at places you'd expect to see kids. 

That includes places like museums, zoos, libraries and malls. 

Right now the state says there are 479,895 kids in the 5-11 age group, and they're hoping to get 50% of them vaccinated in 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, hospitals will also be getting in on the effort to vaccinate young children. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
The lobby of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

It didn't take long for Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children to jump at the opportunity to give out the vaccine. 

"I mean, first and foremost, my emotions from both a personal level and just from a clinical level, I am ecstatic," said Laura-Anne Cleveland, the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Once the CDC gives its final approval, she says they'll host a clinic by appointment only on Saturday, Nov. 6 from 10 am to 4:30 pm, and plan to have more clinics after that. They'll initially give out 300 doses. 

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would get my kids vaccinated, and I will, and I would highly recommend it to our children," Cleveland said. 

The timing for the vaccine is critical in Colorado, with more kids getting sick. 

"Yes, most children are OK when they get COVID. But the percentages of children who have COVID has just rapidly increased, especially in Colorado. And that some of those are severe," Cleveland said. "Because their symptoms can be more mild, just like adults can be asymptomatic or mild symptoms, they can be travelers with the disease and with the virus. And so what that means is that they can transmit COVID to people without ever knowing that they're transmitting it."

While she says the vaccine may help with the situation of hospital space in Colorado, there also still remains a concern with flu season and other respiratory viruses. 

"I think the biggest thing that we're seeing is we're seeing a lot of viruses that we don't normally see at this time period," Cleveland said. 

Overall, she says the vaccine for kids may not be the final hump of the pandemic, but it is an extra tool to combat it.  

"I've seen enough just rough cases. I don't want anyone to suffer. But really, this is about being very selfless and protecting other people around us," Cleveland said. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
Masks sit in a bin in the lobby of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Children's Hospital of Colorado said that in anticipation of the vaccine becoming available, they're partnering with the state to host vaccine clinics at several of their locations as soon as Friday, Nov. 5. 

"The delta variant is more infectious and is leading to significantly increased transmissibility when compared to other variants. This contributes to more kids getting exposed and infected to COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine offers protection from COVID infection and related complications such as severe disease, hospitalization, risk of long COVID and the inflammatory condition MIS-C that has impacted a smaller number of kids after being infected with COVID-19," the statement read in part. "Until kids ages 5-11 can get the vaccine, it’s important to surround our kids with vaccinated people and continue protective measures like masking when indoors. When kids ages 5-11 can get the vaccine, they in turn, can play a part in protecting elder family members and others around them who may have weakened immune systems from conditions like cancer."

You can find dates and pre-register here.

In another statement, the Colorado Hospital Association said that hospitals are stretched very thing right now, so "Anything that we can do to reduce the number of COVID hospitalizations we have will help. Getting children vaccinated, getting vaccinated adults boosted, wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing are all important steps to reduce community spread and ultimately take some of the pressure off of our hospitals," the statement read in part.


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