School districts anticipating future partnerships for COVID-19 vaccination clinics

Several local school districts are anticipating future partnerships with COVID-19 vaccination providers, ahead of a possible emergency use authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years old.

The decision is now in the hands of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on whether kids will be able to receive the vaccine. At the end of the month, the expert panel is expected to discuss and make a recommendation. But locally, parents are anxiously waiting and school districts are getting ready for new clinics.

When it comes to new COVID-19 cases, national numbers show kids make up nearly 30 percent of those cases.

“This fall we’ve seen a lot of outbreaks especially in schools that haven’t masked up,” Allegheny Health Network Dr. Edward Ketyer said.

He said that’s where vaccines come into play. Right now Pfizer is asking the FDA to issue an emergency use authorization for its vaccine for kids after months of trials.

“The results of the studies between 5-11 are in and it appears that using just a third of the dose that adults get gives excellent protection with excellent safety profiles,” Ketyer said.

If that approval comes, parents are ready for the next steps.

Several school districts including North Hills are hoping to once again partner with Giant Eagle to host vaccine clinics at the school. Other districts like Montour are exploring similar avenues with Children’s Hospital.

The expert FDA panel is expected to discuss its findings on Oct. 26 in a public meeting. The approval and rollout could come soon after, before the end of the month.