Calif. Enforces School Vaccine Mandates

California readies 4,000 sites to administer 1.2 million Covid vaccines to kids 5 to 11 in first week

Chris Aluka Berry for Reuters

(Reuters) California health officials said Wednesday the state will have 4,000 sites ready to administer 1.2 million Covid shots to children 5 to 11 years old as soon as the vaccines receive full approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The announcement came just a day after the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee recommended vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech for that age group. The more than 1.2 million vaccine doses will be ready to distribute within the first week after the shots get approved, Dr. Erica Pan, the state's epidemiologist, said at a Covid briefing.

"We have around 4,000 sites that are ready to administer and over 1,000 providers across the state enrolled to vaccinate," Pan said. "And more than 860,000 doses of vaccine have already been ordered."

Over 3.5 million children ages 5 to 11 live in California, roughly 9% of the state's population, Pan said. The vaccine rollout to young kids could begin as soon as CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky authorizes the shots, which she's expected to do after the agency's advisory panel meets Tuesday.

California's Department of Public Health is already working with schools to administer vaccines, Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the state's Health and Human Services Agency, said at the briefing. Some schools in California are collaborating with pharmacies and other health-care providers to give out shots, Ghaly said, adding that he expected to see more clinics at education centers appearing in November.

"By the middle of next month, CDPH, working with a lot of local health jurisdictions and other partners, have planned many vaccine locations at schools," Ghaly said.


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