Amarillo Public Health Dept. ready to give kids vaccines following CDC approval

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — School-aged kids are now entering the spotlight as the CDC gave a final thumbs-up last night for the Pfizer vaccine to be cleared for use in kids as young as five years old.

Amarillo Public Health Director Casie Stoughton said, “It’s a really good day,” when she spoke about the approval in Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing.

“We do have that pediatric Pfizer product available at the Public Health Department, along with Pfizer for adolescents and adults and Moderna. So lots of vaccines going on at public health right now,” said Stoughton.

Which is good news for Amarillo parents who have been calling to see if their kids can take the shot.

“We’ve had lots of phone calls today and have had so in the last several days of parents, you know, wanting to know when we’ll be open and when we’ll have vaccine available. So I know that there is some demand,” Stoughton said.

You can find the times the public health department is open for vaccinations, and how to make an appointment there by clicking here.

Amarillo’s Public Health Authority, Dr. Todd Bell, said the vaccine has a 90 percent efficacy in decreasing the risk of covid in kids and will help mitigate the spread of the virus in our community.

“Kids are much better at transmitting because, in general, kids are much more sociable, certainly, than I am and more than the average adult is,” said Dr. Bell. “I think that that also highlights the importance, not just having the COVID vaccine, but also having the flu vaccine. As we look at the just the number of opportunities that children have to be able to transmit virus within a typical school day.”

Dr. Bell said he also wants to let parents know the vaccine is safe and effective.

“I want to do is to be sure and encourage folks that this is a type of vaccine, it is a vaccine that has been studied, it actually is a really well-done study. And we feel safe and encourage people to get those vaccines for the children aged five to eleven,” said Dr. Bell.

As for side effects, Dr. Bell said kids in the trials had the same kind of side effects they have seen in adults. He said they will start to feel symptoms around two days after the shot, but those should subside within two days.

Thousands of pediatricians pre-ordered doses, and Pfizer began shipments soon after the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Friday to authorize emergency use. Pfizer said it expects to make 19,000 shipments totaling about 11 million doses in coming, and millions more will be available to order on a weekly basis.

Authorities said they expect a smooth rollout, unlike the chaos that plagued the national one for adults nearly a year ago.

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