Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was joined by local officials to provide an overview of vaccine administration for 5 to 11 year-olds. Howard County Health Department clinics began last week at Howard Community College at Duncan Hall and will continue five days a week from 3:00-7:00 p.m. as supply allows. Vaccine for 5-11 year-olds is also available at local medical providers and pharmacies. Howard County Health Department and 14 providers received an initial shipment of 9,300 first and second doses of vaccine, which will fully immunize 4,650 children. Photos of the event can be found here.
“Howard County has more than 31,000 residents ages 5 to 11, and we are here to emphasize to parents and families that this vaccine is safe and effective,” said Ball. “At the end of the day, getting this group vaccinated is another step towards ending this pandemic. Howard County has been a leader in the state in our vaccination rates – with 95.4% of those 12+ with at least one dose and nearly 75% of our total population with at least one dose. We are closing the gap every day – and we are determined to reach every individual and family and encourage vaccination.”
Kids Vaccine Availability
Parents should check first if their child’s pediatrician is providing the COVID vaccine. If not, an appointment can be made with another vaccine provider (listed on the website) or with the Health Department. Supply is anticipated to increase in the upcoming weeks and families are encouraged to make appointments now.
Centennial Medical/FirstCall is partnering with St. John’s Church in Columbia (9055 Tamar Drive) to provide the pediatric vaccine in addition to adult vaccines. There will be Spanish speaking staff on site. The clinic will operate Tuesday through Friday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Visit https://vaccine.howardcountymd.gov for more information.
Safety and Efficacy
Since the start of the pandemic, about 1.9 million children ages 5-11 years have been infected with COVID-19, about 9% of all U.S. cases. Clinical trials in children ages 5-11 years found the vaccine to be 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
The pediatric vaccine is given in two doses administered 21 days (3 weeks) apart. The dosage is one-third of the adolescent and adult dose. Safety data from the trials found the most common reactions were pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache. Reactions were mostly mild or moderate. There were no serious adverse events related to the vaccine, including myocarditis or anaphylaxis. Most side effects went away within one to two days.
“Vaccinating our children is yet another step towards controlling the virus and saving lives,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman. “I encourage all parents to consider this very safe and effective vaccine for their children.”
“We have been anxiously awaiting the approval of vaccines for our youngest students and I am overjoyed that it is now available for 5-11 year olds,” said HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano Ed.D. “I urge every parent and guardian to have a conversation with your child’s pediatrician about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for your child. Like we have with every other age group, I hope that Howard County will lead the state with the number of 5-11 year olds who get vaccinated.”
“I am proud today to continue our partnership with Howard County in getting our youngest residents vaccinated. From the beginning of the pandemic, Howard Community College has answered the call to help, and hosting this new vaccination clinic is critically important to public health of our community,” said Howard Community College Interim President Lynn Coleman.
“Throughout the pandemic Centennial Medical/FirstCall has been offering both rapid and PCR COVID-19 testing, all 3 vaccines, monoclonal antibody treatments, and are now adding pediatric vaccines to our services,” said Centennial Medical/FirstCall Managing Partner Connor Ferguson.