PROVIDENCE — Governor Dan McKee said the state has reached out to “every pediatrician” in the state to prepare to administer COVID-19 vaccines to kids between 5 and 11 years old when they become eligible for the shot.
The governor said kids will be able to get vaccinated at state-run sites, community-based clinics, schools (with parent permission), their primary care providers, and the Providence Children’s Museum when they become eligible.
McKee said at a press conference Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to meet in late October to review, and potentially authorize, the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year olds, who have not yet been eligible for the vaccine. All Rhode Islanders age 12 and older are currently eligible for the shot. Nearly 70 percent of all eligible Rhode Islanders have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Our message to all Rhode Islanders: Our team is prepared and we are ready,” said McKee.
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the state health department, said Rhode Island has “some of the best” vaccination rates in the country, and is confident the state can do the same with COVID-19 vaccines. She said there are about 80,000 Rhode Islanders in the 5- to 11-year-old age group and anticipates the state will begin administering shots sometime in November.
The Pfizer vaccine formula for kids is different than the one for adults. Alexander-Scott said once authorized for emergency use by the FDA, the formula for kids needs to be mass produced, and then ordered and delivered to states.
“We’re not going to get 80,000 doses of the vaccine all at once. It’s going to take time,” said Alexander-Scott. She later clarified and said it will take a matter of “weeks” to have the supply to cover this entire group.
Of the 134 private practices that cater to children in the state, 81 are either ready to vaccinate or are in the process of getting onboarded, she said.
“Keeping kids in schools continue to be one of my top priorities,” said McKee.