Texas pediatricians to play large role in vaccinations of younger children


Note: This story was updated Tuesday to include new information from the Texas Department of State Health Services, clarifying the shipment process of COVID-19 vaccines.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of State Health Services says pediatricians will play a big role in getting children ages 5-11 vaccinated against COVID-19.

Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration’s committee on vaccines could approve smaller doses of the Pfizer vaccine for younger children with emergency FDA and CDC approvals possible in the coming weeks.

During a briefing Monday, DSHS said there are roughly 2.9 million children who would be eligible for shots, and that Texas is set to receive 1.3 million doses initially.

The agency said it is “actively encouraging” pediatricians to enroll and become official vaccine providers.

“For all the ones that are already registered, we’ve been in close communication, encouraging them to place orders within the system to ensure they get some of the first doses that arrive in Texas,” said Imelda Garcia, the DSHS associate commissioner of laboratory and infectious disease services.

Austin pediatrician Dr. Samuel Mirrop told KXAN his office plans to offer the vaccines but said providing them can be sometimes be “complicated.”

Mirrop said, unlike other immunizations, the COVID vaccines are not delivered directly from the manufacturer, they come from the government. But a DSHS spokesperson said Tuesday the Pfizer vaccines, including the pediatric vaccine, are shipped by Pfizer.

“Another tricky part is after you get the vaccine, like grownups, [children] have to wait for 15 minutes,” Dr. Mirrop said. “For us to try and do that during our regular office hours, we only have so many exam rooms.”

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