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Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota's plan to help children aged five to 11 get the COVID-19 vaccine after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee voted to recommend the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children five to 11 years old.

The state of Minnesota put together a network of providers—including pharmacies, health care systems, clinics, local public health and tribal health agencies, and school clinics, and state-run community clinics—that can begin vaccinating eligible children once final eligibility recommendations are issued by the federal government next week.

“Every 5-11-year-old in Minnesota deserves the protection the COVID-19 vaccine has to offer,” Walz said. “The state is prepared for this critical moment in the battle against COVID-19."

Walz continued, "our goal is to ensure that the vaccine is widely, equitably, and efficiently available to all children ages 5-11. We’ll be ready to do our part when the federal government gives us the green light, and I encourage parents to get their children vaccinated when the shots are ready.”

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said, “as the mom of a young child, I am beyond grateful my daughter will be able to get a vaccine soon.” 

“The time to prepare for the vaccine is now – there are many ways families will be able to get their child a shot, and parents can choose which option is most convenient for them. Relief is coming,” she said.

The Walz-Flanagan Administration mobilized a diverse network of more than 1,100 providers to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5-11.

  • More than 530 pediatric and family medicine clinics, primary care providers, federally qualified health centers, local public health agencies, tribal health agencies, and Indian Health Service locations have said they are prepared to vaccinate Minnesota children.
  • Additionally, over 600 pharmacies are actively planning to provide COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 12 in some or all their locations, based on their supply from the federal government.
  • To ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine, expand access to more children, and meet Minnesota families where they are, the Administration will partner with school districts and charter schools to host vaccination clinics in school buildings for children and families.
    • In a recent survey of Minnesota school districts and charter schools, 80% of respondents have indicated interest in hosting vaccination clinics.
    • The Administration is partnering with districts and schools to host at least 20 school-based vaccination clinics in high-need areas around Minnesota over the next four weeks.
  • Minnesota’s successful Community Vaccination Program location at the Mall of America has tripled its capacity to provide up to 1,500 shots per day to 5-11-year-olds shortly after the vaccine is authorized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • MDH’s Covid-19 Community Coordinators – trusted community partners – will host clinics offering not only vaccines to 5-11-year-olds but shots for the whole family.
  • After reviewing the clinical trial data that demonstrated safety and high protection, the advisory committee recommended that FDA authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11-years-old.

The state is waiting on FDA’s official authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for use in this age group, as well as recommendations from CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), to provide the authorization doctors and other health care providers need before they start vaccinating. ACIP is expected to meet on this matter Nov. 2-3.

“These vaccines have been shown to be safe and highly effective, and they are our best tools for protecting Minnesotans from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “The evidence shows COVID-19 can be severe and have long-lasting health impacts – sometimes even among young and healthy people. Getting your children vaccinated helps them stay safe during school, sports and other social activities. Plan ahead, talk to your family physician, and once your child is eligible, find a vaccine opportunity near you to get your child protected.”

 Children are not immune from the severe effects of COVID-19, and common underlying conditions like asthma and obesity can put kids at an even greater risk of severe illness.

Since July 1, there have been more than 45,200 pediatric cases and more than 300 child hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Serious cases can even occur in healthy children. Roughly 25% of COVID-19 pediatric deaths nationally have occurred in healthy children.

 COVID-19 can also have long-term consequences. Thousands of children have been diagnosed with COVID-19-linked multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, in the U.S., with almost 100 cases in Minnesota. Some of these children need ICU-level care.

 “Vaccines are the best tool we have to keep our students in their classrooms while protecting the health and safety of students, staff and families,” said Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. “After extensive studies and research by health experts, I am thankful that a safe and effective vaccine will soon be available to children ages 5 and older. Our school and health care communities stand ready to provide families options to ensure all Minnesota kids can get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, Minnesotans are encouraged to visit the Minnesota Department of Heath website and the CDC website.

How families can find a shot for their child once they are eligible:

 Minnesota providers cannot begin vaccinating children until the CDC issues final recommendations, which could come later next week.

 Once CDC has approved the vaccine for five to 11 and your child is eligible, Minnesota families can:

  • Check with their pediatrician or family medicine clinic about appointments;
  • Visit mn.gov/vaccine to use the Vaccine Locator Map to locate and contact providers near them;
  • Utilize the CDC’s Vaccine Finder at vaccines.gov to find pharmacies offering pediatric vaccinations; or
  • Look to your local school district for more information about vaccination opportunities in your child’s school.

 How currently eligible Minnesotans can get their free shot:

  • Use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you.
    • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline
      • 1-833-431-2053
      • Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Check for vaccine appointments using the Vaccine Finder. You can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).
  • Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.

 How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test:

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