COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state of Ohio has announced that more than 367,000 lower-dose COVID vaccines will be available throughout the state for children ages 5-11 after the CDC granted its approval within that age group on Tuesday.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff also said the vaccines will be available in all 88 counties.
“The first shipments of the pediatric formulation have, in fact, already arrived in Ohio with additional shipments arriving on a staggered schedule over the coming days," Dr. Vanderhoff said during a press conference Wednesday morning.
For parents interested in getting their child vaccinated, Dr. Vanderhoff said appointments can be made with many different types of providers, which include:
- Local health departments
- Family physicians
- Community health centers
- Adult and children’s hospitals
You can find an available COVID vaccine and make an appointment for your child HERE or by calling 1-833-4-ASKODH. The vaccine’s approval for children ages 5-11 features a smaller 10 microgram dose of Pfizer’s shot.
Dr. Vanderhoff also warned that the risk of spread remains "very high."
"It will be some time, even with robust uptake of the vaccine, before we have substantial numbers of our school-aged children who are fully vaccinated and are therefore fully protected," he said.
With the vaccination process just beginning, Dr. Vanderhoff noted that parents need to remember that it takes five weeks to be considered fully protected.
"Until your child gains maximum protection from the vaccine, we continue to encourage students to wear masks in school as we await the rollout of this vaccine for our younger students," Dr. Vanderhoff said.
It's for that reason that he also suggested parents consider the timing of their child's vaccination with the holiday season upon us.
"For example, if you count five weeks back from Christmas, a child who wants protection for the Christmas holidays should really have their first dose no later than Nov. 20," he explained.
Vanderhoff, who hosted the press conference, was also joined by the following health officials:
- Patty Manning-Courtney, MD, Pediatrician, Chief of Staff, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
- Michael Forbes, MD, Pediatric Intensive Care Specialist, Akron Children’s Hospital
- Michele Dritz, MD, Pediatrician, Cornerstone Pediatrics; Delegate at Large, American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter
“Today is a day that many children and numerous adults — parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, pediatricians, teachers, and coaches — have long awaited,” Vanderhoff said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
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The Ohio Department of Health said that while children are less likely than adults to get severely ill from COVID-19, some do get very sick.
“As of Nov. 1, more than 2,000 Ohio children under 18 had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 15 had died," according to a press release from ODH.