California Launches Vaccination Program for 5-11 Age Group

California Launches Robust Vaccination Program for 5-11 Age Group, Ready to Vaccinate Newly Eligible Californians

SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News)  Following the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s review of the federal process and conclusion that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children 5 years of age and up, the state is rolling out a robust vaccination program with the resources to vaccinate every newly eligible Californian.

“Vaccines are how we end this pandemic, and they’re how we keep our kids safe – it’s time to get our children the protection they need from this deadly virus, especially as we head into the winter season,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “California is leading the nation in vaccinations with 54 million administered and 87 percent of the eligible population with at least one dose, and we’re moving swiftly to implement a robust and equitable vaccination program that will cover this newly eligible age group.”

California will begin vaccinating children ages 5-11 immediately, with 500 organizations across the state receiving their first shipments through Monday.  The state was allocated 1.2 million pediatric doses from the federal government, with adequate supply to vaccinate all newly eligible Californians becoming available in the coming weeks.

The state has more than 4,000 locations ready to vaccinate children ages 5-11 as supply increases, and is leveraging existing infrastructure and partnerships used to administer vaccines to teens and young adults.  This includes working closely with medical providers, local health departments, schools, community partners and others to administer vaccines safely and equitably through mobile clinics and vaccine pop-ups in the hardest-hit communities across the state.  For example, California has brokered partnerships with after-school programs – including the Sierra Health Foundation and the Alliance for Boys & Girls – to set up 84 pop-up clinics statewide.

Already, there have been over 3,100 school-located clinics covering over 2 million students, with another 800 planned for November and December, covering 450,000 students.  The state has mobilized an unprecedented multi-pronged paid media campaign to get all Californians vaccinated, including our children.  In November alone, this campaign will make 800 million impressions across multiple platforms to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated.  The campaign will continue to focus on our hardest-hit communities with an in-language approach and an emphasis on equity.

To date, California has administered 54 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 87 percent of the eligible population having received at least one dose.  California has taken nation-leading actions to protect the youngest Californians during the pandemic by implementing bold school safety and public health measures.  California was the first to require masks in K-12 settings, vaccine verification or weekly testing for school staff, and has added the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for students.  These public health measures have resulted in California keeping more children out of the hospital and keeping more schools open than other states.

Parents are encouraged to call their child’s health care provider to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.  Parents can also visit MyTurn.ca.gov or call the hotline at 833-422-4255 beginning tomorrow to find a nearby vaccination site.