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Health Department ready to administer Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5-11

Princeton children ages 5-11 will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recent approval of vaccinations for children in this age group.

The CDC announced on Nov. 2 the recommendation that all children ages 5-11 can receive the low-dose pediatric vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech. According to the CDC, providers can currently begin administering the vaccine to the age group.

Princeton’s Health Department is prepared to administer the vaccine in the municipality to children ages 5-11.

“As we have done throughout the vaccination stage of the COVID-19 pandemic timeline, the Princeton Health Department stands ready to vaccinate all eligible groups. We will of course be ready for 5-11 year-old Princeton residents,” Health Officer Jeff Grosser said. “There’s no doubt that vaccinating this age group is a different process than 12-plus-year-olds – ask any parent who has brought a child to the pediatrician for a shot. It can be a stressful moment.

“As a result, we will do our best to make this process as easy as possible for families,” Grosser said.

“We are also working with Princeton’s pediatric offices to ensure there is adequate coverage across our community,” he said.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 monitor, in October, 27% of parents in the United States said they will vaccinate their 5-11-year-old children once the vaccine was authorized, 33% said they would wait and see, 30% said they won’t get their child vaccinated, and 5% said they would only do so if the schools required it.

For any Princeton parents hesitant to get their children vaccinated, Grosser suggested speaking with the child’s pediatrician.

“If they do not have a pediatrician, I would tell them that children play a key part in protecting entire families once they are vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said. “With the holidays coming up, vaccinating children is the best way to prepare for preventing COVID-19 spread and potentially creating localized outbreaks in our community.”

The Health Department is also administering booster COVID-19 vaccines to the community. The department began offering booster doses at clinics to eligible populations on Oct. 22.

Federal officials expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots in late October. Eligible people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines could get a booster six months or more after their initial series.

For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster shots are recommended two months or more after the initial one-shot dose.

Individuals eligible for booster shots are those age 65 and older and people who are 18 years old and up, who live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions, and work or live in high risk settings, according to the CDC.

“Booster doses greatly lower the risk of severe illness and they also help prevent infections,” Grosser said. “In turn, we see a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.”

According to the Health Department, as of Oct. 19, 81% of residents age 12 and over are fully vaccinated, 18 and over is also 81%, people age 65 and older have 99% of the population fully vaccinated, and the age group of 80 and over is fully vaccinated at 100%.

For dates and information on upcoming clinics, visit the Health Department page on the municipal website at www.princetonnj.gov. 

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