COVID-19 vaccines are now deemed safe and effective for younger children, aged 5-11.

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This news comes from the Wyoming Department of Health who put out a media release stating that "safe, free, and effective vaccinations meant to help prevent COVID-19 infection and illness are now available and recommended for school-aged children."

WDH stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now endorses the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children in the 5-11 year old age group.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state health officer and state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health encourages Wyoming parents to choose the vaccine.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect kids 5 and over from COVID-19,” Harrist said. “It can help keep kids stay in school and help them participate more safely in all sorts of activities. We have certainly seen children become infected with the COVID-19 virus. Some have been very ill and some may be facing both short and long-term health issues. We also know children can spread COVID-19 to others, including the very youngest who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, and those of any age who may be especially vulnerable to the virus and its effects.”

WDH wrote that before the vaccine was approved for children, scientists and medical experts completed a review of safety and effectiveness data, compiled during clinical trials with "thousands of children."

“Vaccination for youth 12 and older has also been available for several months, with millions of youth already safely vaccinated across the nation,” Harrist said.

Last week, Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell stated that Wyoming continues to be one of the least vaccinated states in the country. Dr. Harrist stated that Wyoming continues to be especially vulnerable to COVID-19, due to its vaccination status and due to the aggression of the Delta variant.

“For those people who are eligible and not yet vaccinated, getting started with COVID-19 vaccines is the most important step available to help prevent COVID-19 illness and spread in our state,” she said. “It is the best way to reduce our vulnerability to this virus and its effects.”

The Department of Health emphasized that a beginning supply of the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has already been delivered to public health offices across the state, and they stated that parents should contact their local public health office or their chosen pharmacy for information on getting the vaccine for their children, aged 5-11 years old.

Additionally, other approved COVID-19 vaccine providers, such as doctors offices, are set to receive the vaccine this week and will be able to order doses beginning next week.

WDH notes that children will receive a dose amount specifically meant for them.

"Two of these doses are needed, spaced three weeks apart," the release stated. "Children can receive other vaccines, including flu shots, at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine."

Also important to note is that all COVID-19 vaccines, whether for children or adults, continue to be offered free of charge.

Detailed information about the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, including questions and answers for parents about safety and potential side effects, is available from the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/children-teens.html.

While it may take a short time for information on availability of the children’s version to be updated and fully available, convenient ways to find where to get COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • Visit Vaccines.gov or vacunas.gov online to search and find vaccine sites.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) to find up to three nearby locations that have vaccines available.
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 for phone-based help.

The Wyoming Department of Health stated that a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of now, the Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine available to children.

More information from WDH about vaccination in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.

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