AHN receives first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids in Pittsburgh area

PITTSBURGH — Pediatric offices across the country now have the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine that’s specifically manufactured for kids between the ages of 5 and 11.

Allegheny Health Network delivered doses to about 12 pediatric offices in the Pittsburgh area Thursday and will be getting shots into little arms as soon as Monday.

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“We know the 5 to 11-year-olds are not necessarily prone to hospitalization or death from the virus, but it’s a huge step towards reducing the spread of the virus,” said Allegheny General Hospital Director of Pharmacy Arpit Mehta.

AHN received 18,000 doses. The two-shot vaccine for this age group is one-third the size of an adult dose. It also comes in a smaller needle.

“Review the data,” said Mehta. “Let the science help you make that decision, and really go get the vaccine. We have reviewed the data ourselves, as well as AHN, and determined that the vaccine is really, truly effective, and everybody should get the vaccine.”

In clinical trials, the vaccination was found to be nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children in this age group, and side effects are mild.

Mehta added, “Just similar to adults. Drink plenty of fluid. Stay hydrated. Rest. Ibuprofen or Tylenol is available for kids, as well as adults, after the vaccine if they feel ill in any way. Certainly, talk to the pediatrician.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says kids can get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot on the same day. If your child’s pediatrician is within the Allegheny Health Network, you can call their office directly to schedule an appointment.

AHN is also hosting upcoming vaccination clinics, including one at the Children’s Museum. The first vaccination clinic is scheduled for Nov. 13. You’ll be able to make an appointment online for this upcoming clinic by the end of the day on Friday, Nov. 5. Again, these upcoming clinics are just for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

“The more we can outreach and get the kids where they are and get the vaccine, the better we will be,” said Mehta.

Just go to ahn.org to schedule an appointment.