Milwaukee County preparing to distribute Pfizer's COVID-19 for kids 5-11 once authorized

NOW: Milwaukee County preparing to distribute Pfizer’s COVID-19 for kids 5-11 once authorized

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Officials with the Milwaukee County Department of Health say health care systems in Southeastern Wisconsin are prepared to give out the COVID-19 vaccine for children.

An FDA advisory committee voted to recommend Pfizer's vaccine for kids 5-11 on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Dr. Ben Weston with Milwaukee County said the CDC will meet next week to give its full recommendation. He said that could come by Nov. 4.

"So I think we could see shots in arms, depending on supply chains and DHS recommendation, potentially as soon as the end of next week," Dr. Weston said.

Dr. Weston said parents should feel confident about getting the vaccine for their child.

"These vaccines have been given to billions worldwide and are some of the most studied drugs in history. There's nothing experimental anymore about these vaccines," he said.

City health commissioner Kirsten Johnson said most health care systems in Milwaukee County have already requested Pfizer's vaccine for children. All vaccinators in the state have had the chance to request supply.

"So I'm hopeful we will see ample supply by the end of next week," Johnson said.

The Milwaukee Health Department is working with Milwaukee Public Schools and other districts to coordinate pediatric-friendly vaccine clinics. These will be smaller clinics, and will likely take place in areas like classrooms.

"Bottom line is this vaccine seems to be safe and effective in children as much as it has been in adolescents and adults," Dr. Weston said.

Meanwhile, the private sector is also preparing to get the Pfizer vaccine to younger Wisconsinites.

"People are calling us every day now, in fact today we got a lot of phone calls," said Dr. Hashim Zaibak at Hayat Pharmacy.

Zaibak says Tuesday's announcement already has many people interested, which is why they're preparing with the right-sized needles for kids and more.

"We’re ordering the right size syringes, we're ordering things to keep the children happy and probably distracted, like coloring books and snacks," said Zaibak.

Doctors at UW Health are also working towards getting approval for the Moderna vaccine for 6 to 11-year-olds, which they said is likely still around six weeks from being ready.

Dr. William Hartman, who is spearheading the part of the research being done there, said he hopes people understand this has been a long process to determine if the vaccine benefits outweigh the risks.

"At least people will know that the science has been followed," said Hartman.

He said hopefully soon these vaccines will make it so another 25% of the population can get vaccinated.

"It will chew up some of that gap that's missing, and get us closer to that threshold where the virus can be managed," said Hartman.

So people like mom Lisa Krejcarek, who says she'll have to look at the research first, can get her children vaccinated when eligible, even though she's against mandates.

"Families should have the right to choose, but I also see how herd immunity is really important, so I am vaccinated and I encourage others to be," said Krejcarek.

An incentive for children is also in the works and will likely be announced by Milwaukee County next week.

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