Dr. Jessica McColley with Cabin Creek Health Systems administers the COVID-19 vaccine to her 7-year-old son, Jacob.
Dr. Jessica McColley with Cabin Creek Health Systems administers the COVID-19 vaccine to her 7-year-old son, Jacob.

West Virginia begins administering COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With the CDC now recommending Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for use by children ages 5-11, West Virginia’s Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has already begun distributing and administering doses of the vaccine to children across the state.

“We’ve been preparing for weeks for these vaccines for our kids to be approved,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “We were ready to go and we’ve hit the ground running.”

Justice was joined virtually at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing by Dr. Jessica McColley with Cabin Creek Health Systems and her 7-year-old son, Jacob.

Championing the safety and effectiveness of the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. McColley administered the vaccine to her son live on-air.

“Jacob is a strong guy and he’s getting to pick out some Legos for this,” Dr. McColley said.

Jacob, I’m really, really proud of you,” Gov. Justice said. “We congratulate this young man. It’s wonderful.”

“The 5-to-11-year-olds will receive about one-third of the dose of adults with 10 micrograms, whereas adults are at 33 micrograms for Pfizer,” Dr. McColley said. “We know that children’s immune systems are so much better than ours. All of the studies have proven that they gain a robust immune response from just that 10 micrograms.”

“Jacob is a role model for many others,” said. State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh. “Just remember, spread in children with the Delta variant of COVID-19 is like it is in adults, except that children tend to be asymptomatic much more frequently than adults do. We know that 8,300 children 5 to 11 years old had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and 44% of the very complex multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 occurs in children 5 to 11 years old, which can be a really devastating complication of COVID-19 in this age group.

“Preliminary studies of the pediatric vaccine do not demonstrate any complications like heart inflammation in this group of children,” Dr. Marsh continued. “So, with that really good news, we hope that all parents take an opportunity and advantage to protect your child in this age group. Vaccines are being delivered today. Pay attention to your local providers and contact them to make sure that those are available for you where you live.”

Justice yet again encouraged all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then immediately get one if they are eligible.

There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.

Per the latest CDC recommendations, individuals who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot if it has been at least six months since they completed their initial series of shots and they fall into at least one of the following groups:

• 65 years and older
• Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
• Age 18+ who have *underlying medical conditions
• Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings

For individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Per the CDC, eligible individuals now may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

If you are eligible for the booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!