Nov 3, 2021 - COVID
Philly to begin vaccinating children ages 5-11
Illustration of a kids' building block toy with a covid particle on the side.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia's Public Health Department said certain providers will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5-11 immediately.

Driving the news: CDC director Rochelle Walensky recommended the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old late Tuesday.

  • The endorsement, which follows CDC independent advisers' unanimous recommendation, marks the final step in the U.S. approval process, clearing the shots for younger kids.

State of play: Philly health officials told Axios kids could start getting jabs as early as Wednesday.

  • The city's health department had ordered an estimated 22,000 doses for children, and it's able to order more as providers work through the initial round, a spokesperson said.
  • The intention is to "have enough to vaccinate every 5-11 year old in Philadelphia," the spokesperson added.

Between the lines: The city health department declined on Tuesday to say which providers already have the vaccine.

  • But parents and guardians can expect to get their children the shots from most places that already provide them. That includes all city-run vaccine clinics and health centers.

Of note: The School District of Philadelphia told Axios it continues to encourage students who are eligible to get vaccinated, but there are no plans to put in place a vaccine mandate for all district students.

  • However, middle school athletes under the age of 12 will have to receive their first dose within 45 days of the pediatric vaccine becoming available.

By the numbers: Children ages 5-18 in Philadelphia County have accounted for 4,452 COVID-19 cases since Aug. 16. (The state and city don't break down the data for the 5-11 age group.)

  • James Garrow, the city Department of Public Health's communications director, told Axios that Philadelphians under the age of 20 currently have the highest rate of COVID-19 cases among any age demographic.
  • They've had the highest case rate since the week of Sept. 12, although all rates have been declining since the beginning of October.

The bottom line: City health officials plan to announce which sites can administer the vaccine to kids soon.

What's next: The Philadelphia Department of Health will host a live COVID-19 update briefing Wednesday at 10am.

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