Governor Asa Hutchinson recently announced that Arkansas will be using the existing immunizations infrastructure and strategy to provide COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5-11. All individuals age five and older are eligible to receive the vaccine following a unanimous vote from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Tuesday that allows shots for children in the 5-11 age group.
“Arkansas is well prepared to get out the vaccines and make them available to the age group,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We want to ensure to everyone that this is a parental decision for their children, we encourage it and that discussion, but there is no mandate.”
Children in the newly-approved age groups will receive a smaller dose than the one offered to adults. The children’s vaccine is 10 micrograms, while the adult and adolescent vaccine is a 30-microgram dose. In clinical trials, Pfizer’s vaccine for kids proved highly effective at triggering antibodies to COVID-19, and it showed more than 90 percent efficacy at blocking symptomatic disease.
All ADH Local Health Units will provide pediatric vaccinations. Vaccines for Children providers that are enrolled in the COVID-19 vaccination program will also receive vaccines to vaccinate the children they serve. If parents are unsure if their provider is administering vaccines, they should contact their provider. If they do not have a provider, or their provider is not part of the initial roll-out, they should make an appointment with the Local Health Unit closest to them.
The ADH is partnering with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, Arkansas Medical Society, Immunize Arkansas, and other professional organizations to provide training on the new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine to providers. If Arkansans need information about pediatric vaccines, they can call the ADH COVID-19 call center at 1-800-803-7847.