Federal

White House Outlines COVID-19 Vaccination Plans for Kids 5-11

By Evie Blad — October 20, 2021 3 min read
Ticket number 937 sits on a COVID-19 vaccination at the drive-thru vaccination site in the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Jan. 14, 2021, in Newnan, Ga.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

When a COVID-19 vaccine is available for children ages 5-11, federal officials will immediately ship it to children’s hospitals, pediatricians, and pharmacies across the country so that providers can quickly administer it, the White House said Wednesday.

The Biden administration detailed its plans for the next phase of a massive national immunization effort as federal agencies prepare to consider granting emergency use authorization to provide the Pfizer-BioNTech to younger children this month.

That plan includes smaller doses, more-flexible supplies, and efforts to provide children’s vaccines at locations families trust: schools, pediatrician’s offices, and community health providers.

“Kids have different needs from adults, and our operational plan is designed to meet those needs,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a news conference.

Federal officials have worked with Pfizer to modify packaging that will allow smaller numbers of the doses to be used at once, allowing for smaller-scale distribution efforts without the risk of discarded doses, Zients said.

Those smaller packages of kid-sized doses will be shipped with all supplies needed, including smaller needles, to thousands of providers around the country as soon as the Centers for Disease Control gives final approval, which is expected at a Nov. 2-3 meeting.

Shipping vaccines for 28 million children

That green light will open up eligibility to about 28 million children who were previously too young to be vaccinated.

While children are at lower risk of severe illness from COVID-19, they have seen an increase in cases because of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, said Anthony Fauci, the nation’ chief epidemiologist, at the Wednesday briefing. In addition, raising the rates of vaccination in the population as a whole could help lower the risk of spreading the virus to more-vulnerable people, he said.

“If we could get a majority of those children vaccinated, I think that would play a major role in diminishing the spread of infection within a community,” Fauci said.

See Also

Student Well-Being Kids and COVID-19 Vaccines: The Latest News
April 13, 2021
54 min read

Schools will play a key role in the administration’s pediatric vaccine efforts. To combat vaccine misinformation, federal officials plan to provide letters that schools and clergy can distribute to parents, Zients said.

And agencies plan to coordinate an education campaign that includes media appearances, outreach efforts in multiple languages, and events with local health professionals to answer questions for families who may not have primary health-care providers.

Coordinating school-based vaccination efforts

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse states for school-based vaccination efforts, the White House plan said. And the administration will work to pair schools with local providers and pharmacies that can help provide on-site inoculations.

“As with vaccination for those 12 and older, the success of this program will rely heavily on states, Tribes, and territories to help implement a smooth rollout,” the White House plan says.

So the administration is holding “readiness calls” with states and territories in advance of the expected vaccine authorization to finalize plans.

In addition to school-based efforts, providers expected to administer vaccines include about 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers, 100 children’s hospitals, and thousands of pharmacies, community health centers, and rural clinics.

Support for state and local vaccine requirements

While President Joe Biden has called for vaccine mandates for adult workers, the administration has not called for any federal requirements for pediatric vaccines.

Officials including Fauci and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, have said they support state and local plans to mandate vaccines for school attendance. California is the only state to have set such a requirement on a broad scale. Around the country, some districts have adopted or considered their own local requirements or set vaccine mandates for smaller populations, such as student athletes.

Even as shots become available for younger children, it remains important for unvaccinated adults to roll up their sleeves, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Wednesday.

“As we await this decision, the best thing we can do to protect our children is to get vaccinated ourselves and to wear a mask in public places,” he said.

Related Tags:

Events

School & District Management Webinar How Pensions Work: Why It Matters for K-12 Education
Panelists explain the fundamentals of teacher pension finances — how they are paid for, what drives their costs, and their impact on K-12 education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Classroom Tech Outpaces Research. Why That's a Problem
Experts call for better alignment between research and the classroom in Capitol Hill discussions.
4 min read
People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022.
People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022. Experts called for investments in education research and development at a symposium at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 13.
Patrick Semansky/AP
Federal Opinion Federal Education Reform Has Largely Failed. Unfortunately, We Still Need It
Neither NCLB nor ESSA have lived up to their promise, but the problems calling for national action persist.
Jack Jennings
4 min read
Red, Blue, and Purple colors over a fine line etching of the Capitol building. Republicans and Democrats, Partisan Politicians.
Douglas Rissing/iStock
Federal A More Complete Picture of Immigration's Impact on U.S. Public Schools
House Republicans say a migrant influx has caused "chaos" in K-12 schools. The reality is more complicated.
10 min read
Parents and community members rally outside P.S. 189 to protest New York City Mayor Eric Adam's plan to temporarily house immigrants in the school's gymnasium, seen in the background on May 16, 2023, in New York.
Parents and community members rally outside P.S. 189 to protest New York City Mayor Eric Adam's plan to temporarily house immigrants in the school's gymnasium, seen in the background on May 16, 2023, in New York.
John Minchillo/AP
Federal Explainer What Is Title IX? Schools, Sports, and Sex Discrimination
Title IX, the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, is undergoing changes. What it is, how it works, and how it's enforced.
2 min read
In this Nov. 21, 1979 file photo, Bella Abzug, left, and Patsy Mink of Women USA sit next to Gloria Steinem as she speaks in Washington where they warned presidential candidates that promises for women's rights will not be enough to get their support in the next election.
In this Nov. 21, 1979, photo, Bella Abzug, left, and Patsy Mink of Women USA sit next to Gloria Steinem as she speaks in Washington at an event where they warned presidential candidates that promises for women's rights will not be enough to win their support in the next election.
Harvey Georges/AP