As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dallas County Health and Human Services has officially begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
The first doses of the Pfizer version of the vaccine to this newest and youngest eligible population were given during a news conference at the DCCHS administration building.
Dallas County Medical Director Dr. Philip Huang and County Judge Clay Jenkins spoke to reporters as a line of around 25 children and their parents waited patiently for their shots.
U.S. health officials on Tuesday gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, nearly a year after the first doses of Pfizer’s adult version of the vaccine were administered to the public in December 2020.
Over the weekend, Pfizer began shipping millions of the pediatric shots to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies — in orange caps, to avoid mix-ups with purple-capped vials of adult vaccine.
In Dallas County, the public health department said staffers were undergoing training on smaller pediatric doses and new syringes Tuesday and that they would be ready to begin administering vaccines at the main office on Wednesday. The county health department said it received its initial shipment of vaccines and that it expects to receive nearly 7,000 doses this week.
Huang said his department will begin limited appointments to administer vaccines to young kids Wednesday, with plans to ramp up soon.
"This is our pathway to getting back to some normalcy," Huang said.
In the U.S., there have been more than 8,300 coronavirus-related hospitalizations of kids ages 5 to 11, about a third requiring intensive care, according to government data. The CDC has recorded at least 94 deaths in that age group, with additional reports under investigation.