SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Younger kids in South Dakota can start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it was endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for that age group.
According to the South Dakota Department of Health, nearly 22% of active COVID-19 cases are people under the age of 20. Since the pandemic started, 174 people in that same age range have been hospitalized.
Here’s what you need to know about getting your child ages 5 to 11 to get vaccinated.
Where to go for the COVID-19 vaccine?
DOH spokesman Daniel Bucheli told KELOLAND News if parents choose to get their kids vaccinated, they should talk with their medical provider and “inquire regarding pediatric vaccine availability.”
Bucheli said providers that requested an allocation of doses would start receiving them this week. South Dakota got 30,000 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
South Dakota’s three major health systems Avera, Monument and Sanford are each offering the 5-11 COVID-19 vaccine. Hy-Vee also announced it’ll have a limited supply of pediatric vaccines for appointments only. You can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination across Hy-Vee pharmacy locations at Hy-Vee’s COVID-19 vaccine website.
Avera says parents should contact their clinic to learn more about when and where to get the vaccine. Officials with Avera Health told KELOLAND News they hope to start giving shots on Thursday, but also asked people to be patient with healthcare providers because they expect an initial rush of demand.
Avera experts provided tips on how to help children before, during and after the shot.
Before the shot:
– Be honest. Tell kids the shot might hurt a little for a couple of seconds, but immunizations will keep them from getting sick in the long run.
– Plan ahead. Act out getting a vaccination, or tell a story in which the child is calm and brave. Remind children that you, too, get shots. They make everyone healthier.
– Prep the shot site. Applying anesthetic cream 20 minutes before the shot can help numb the pain.
During the shot:
– Put on a happy face. Show kids that there’s nothing to fear.
– Distract during the injection. Sing or engage in conversation. Or, tell your child to cough at the moment of the injection.
After the shot:
– Manage the pain. Children’s Tylenol or ibuprofen can help ease any discomfort or swelling. Ask your doctor about what children’s over-the-counter medication might be right for your child.
– Offer comfort. Give a hug, or practice deep breathing with your child.
– Reward their bravery. Celebrate with a game, a trip to the park, or another activity your kids enjoy.
Monument plans to offer pediatric vaccinations in Rapid City, Custer and Spearfish. There’ll be a special Saturday vaccination clinic on Nov. 13 from 7 a.m. to noon at the Rushmore Mall.
“The clinic is located at the east end of the Rushmore Mall. To get there, use the Main Entrance, go through the Food Court and follow the signs,” Monument Health said in a news release.
Sanford will be hosting a vaccine clinic for both COVID-19 and influenza vaccines on Saturday, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13. The clinic will be held 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sanford Imagenetics on 22nd Street.
Patients can be scheduled for the Imagenetics clinic through My Sanford Chart or by calling 1-877-701-0779.
Vaccines will also be available for children at Sanford Health primary care locations. Appointments are preferred. However, appointment availability is dependent upon vaccine allocation at the clinic in which the patient wishes to schedule with.
What’s different with the age 5-11 COVID-19 vaccine?
Children will receive a smaller dose of the vaccine, which is one-third the size of an adult dose, in a two-shot series three weeks apart.
During a clinical trial, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in 4,700 children ages 5 through 11.
The vaccine’s safety was studied in 3,100 children ages 5 through 11 who received the vaccine (the others received the placebo). No serious side effects were detected in the study. Common side effects were mild to moderate and usually went away in one to two days.
These side effects included sore arm, redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills and/or fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite.
“There were actually fewer and milder side effects reported in children. They seem to tolerate it better than older age groups,” Avera Dr. David Basel said. “These short-lived side effects are a natural response of the immune system to the vaccine.”
Even if children have already had COVID-19, Basel says vaccination is more effective than natural immunity.
“A new study of 7,000 people shows they were five times more likely to have COVID if they were unvaccinated and had a prior infection versus those who were vaccinated,” Basel said.
“This is a significant milestone in protecting our young patients and putting an end to this pandemic,” Sanford Dr. Joseph Segeleon said in a news release. “The vaccine appears to be safe and effective. As a children’s physician, I am grateful that we are now able to offer this vaccine for children.”
How will this vaccine impact the spread of COVID-19?
South Dakota is currently experiencing “high” or “substantial” community spread of COVID-19 in all but two of the state’s 66 counties. Basel said the state is “stuck in a rut” with COVID-19 right now.
He said Avera has seen very even levels day-in and day-out in regards to new cases, the number of new positive tests and hospitalizations.
“We’re still seeing patients die all the time from this and it’s just not going down,” Basel said. “The good news is it’s not going up but we can’t seem to get it to dropoff.”
Basel said the vaccines for children should protect children from both serious and non-serious outcomes from COVID-19 as well as long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. He said getting more of the population vaccinated should also help slow the spread in the entire community as a whole.
“We also hope it’ll protect other high-risk individuals,” Basel said. “And just start to get those numbers to come back down finally, because we can’t seem to get over that hump.”