Vaccinators waiting for Wisconsin Department of Health Services to greenlight children's COVID-19 vaccine

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Vaccinators in Wisconsin are waiting for the final go-ahead to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11.

The phones are ringing off the hook at Hayat Pharmacy with parents asking if the kids' COVID-19 vaccine is available.

"We are expecting to receive it either today or tomorrow." Dr. Hashim Zaibak said.

Dr. Zaibak, a pharmacist at Hayat Pharmacy, still has to wait for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to give the final go-ahead. He ordered 800 doses so far.

"They basically said they are working some guidelines and they're just doing the final touchups on the announcement," he said. "There's certain children who might have a higher risk of side effects, so we have to be careful with them. We have to be ready if somebody has an allergic reaction. For example, one of the guidelines is to have the pediatric EpiPen on hand."

These guidelines are also important because they will detail exactly how to administer the children's vaccine. It is a third of the dosage given to adults. It also comes in different packaging so it doesn't get mixed up.

"The adult vials are purple; the children's vials are orange. What we decided to do at Hayat is make sure they're in completely separate areas," Zaibak said.

The health department is also waiting for additional information from the CDC about specific clinical considerations.

"So we hope to give the vaccine as soon as possible, but not before we put all the safety measures and processes in place to make sure it's safely and effectively delivered," Dr. Michael Gutzeit said.

Dr. Gutzeit, the chief medical officer at Children's Wisconsin, said it is getting its clinics ready to administer the vaccine.

"As someone who provides primary care to kids, I support this vaccine, I enthusiastically embrace it," he said.

Dr. Gutzeit said parents should talk to their pediatrician first. Parents can expect their kids to have side effects like sore arm, fever and headache.

"These are very similar reactions we see to other vaccines," he said.

Dr. Zaibak said the moment the health department gives the go ahead, Hayat Pharmacy will be taking walk-ins.

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