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Pfizer vaccine for kids: What you need to know and where to get vaccinated in Memphis

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:05 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Elementary school children can start getting their COVID-19 shots this week.

“I think a lot of parents of children in this age group really have been looking forward to this day,” said Dr. Nehali Patel, associate member of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health says the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week, will be widely available across the state in the coming days with local health departments, including the Shelby County Health Department beginning vaccinations Thursday.

Patel was involved in the Pfizer trial in the Memphis area.

“We were one of a hundred sites across the country, and we actually took children from the community, from the Memphis area as participants,” she said.

The kids-sized vaccines are given in two shots, three weeks apart.

The shots will be administered in pediatrician’s offices, community centers, pharmacies, and more.

Dr. Diego Hijano, infectious disease expert with St. Jude says the hospital will likely start administering the vaccine to St. Jude patients early next week.

“Certainly, the studies that we participated in have shown that the side effects are very minor. Really, we’re using the lower dose of 10 micrograms instead of the 30 micrograms used for older kids,” Hijano said.

Patel says it’s important for parents to know both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC voted unanimously in favor of extending the Emergency Use Authorization to 5 to 11-year-olds.

“And they did look very carefully at all the safety data, and they are screened to be objective reviewers, and so that’s a pretty great statement in terms of the benefit to risk ratio,” she said.

Beginning Thursday, parents can take their children to get vaccinated at the health department’s immunization clinic at 814 Jefferson Avenue. No appointment is necessary.

Parents can also make an appointment for vaccines at local pharmacies, which will begin administering shots this weekend.

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