CHICAGO — Chicago’s Public Health Commissioner said Tuesday that the city could have vaccines for children as early as the first week of November.
Tuesday’s declaration came hours before a panel of U.S. health advisers endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, moving the U.S. closer to beginning vaccinations in children ages 5 to 11.
“I want to reassure you there will be vaccines available for your child,” said Dr. Allison Arwady.
Per authorization from the FDA, followed by a recommendation from the CDC, commissioner, Arwady says nearly 100,000 pediatric Pfizer doses should arrive in Chicago the first week a pediatric vaccine is approved.
She says the pediatric Pfizer vaccine will contain the same ingredients as the adult shot. Young children will also need two doses, three weeks apart. One difference is the vaccine for 5 to 11 years olds is a third of the adult dose.
“This is because younger children have a smaller body mass and in the studies, they had the same level of antibodies and protection, but the lower dose makes it less likely that the 5 to 11-year-olds will have side effects,” Arwady said.
Regarding Covid cases in Chicago Public Schools, CEO Pedro Martinez says the district is not seeing a significant spike in cases week-to-week. He says testing availability has also improved.
“Yesterday was the first day we hit over 5,000 tests, so if you look at the week, we are now at a capacity of almost 25,000 or more tests for the week,” Martinez said.
In recent weeks, Dr. Arwady says the number of children tested for the virus has quadrupled.
“We have not seen an increase in cases among children, which is very, very good news and continues to speak to the safety of our schools,” Arwady said.
As the city continues to push through the pandemic, Dr. Arwady emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated. She says more than 99% of fully vaccinated Chicagoans have not been hospitalized or died from COVID-19.