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Texas health officials plan for rollout of pediatric Covid vaccine

EL PASO, Texas- Health officials in Texas are planning for the Covid vaccine rollout for kids 11-years-old and under.

On Wednesday, the White House said it’s ready to roll out the Covid-19 vaccines to kids ages 5 to 11, if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ABC-7 reached to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) following the White House announcement Wednesday.

When reached by email, Lara Anton, senior press officer for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said it’s been working on the plan and has surveyed providers in the state about how much vaccine they expect to need.

Anton said providers have until the end of Thursday to submit their initial requests to DSHS.

Anton also says DSHS is working with federal partners on the ordering process, and will likely have more details on what the rollout in Texas will look like early next week.

DSHS says there are more than 2,200 COVID vaccine providers who are also part of the Texas Vaccines for Children program.

“We are encouraging TVFC providers who are not COVID vaccine providers to enroll, Anton said in an email to ABC-7 Wednesday. “Remember that a variety of providers like pharmacies, family practice doctors, FQHCs and other clinics as well as enrolled schools can also administer vaccine to children.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been 13,339 cases of Covid-19 for kids 12 and under in El Paso County, according to the EP Strong website. Zero deaths have been reported for that same age group.

The White house says the vaccine could be cleared for use within a couple of weeks. The administration says the FDA's independent advisory committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26, and the CDC's independent advisory committee meeting is set for Nov. 2-3.

The White House says it has enough of the vaccine to cover the 28 million American children in this age group.

“Our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation,” according to the White House fact sheet released Wednesday.

Wil Herren

Wil Herren is an ABC-7 reporter who covers both news and sports.

Lesley Engle

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