Last week, federal health officials gave final approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year-olds — the first and only vaccine for the viral disease to be approved for this age group.
And between area hospitals, pharmacies and pop-up clinics, Monadnock Region residents have a lot of options for getting their kids the two-dose shot.
Here’s a rundown of the vaccine’s efficacy among this age group and where, locally, children can get inoculated:
The Pfizer vaccine was found to be about 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in 5- to 11 year-olds, according to the Food and Drug Administration. No severe cases of the viral disease were found in those vaccinated, the release notes.
The vaccine’s safety has been studied in about 3,000 children, and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study, according to the FDA. Side effects, such as a sore arm and fatigue, were generally mild, and most symptoms went away within a few days, the agency says.
In addition to using a smaller needle for kids 5 to 11, the dosage is one-third of that given to adults.
“The FDA is committed to making decisions that are guided by science that the public and healthcare community can trust,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a news release on the approval. “ ... We hope this information helps build confidence of parents who are deciding whether to have their children vaccinated.”
In Keene, Cheshire Medical Center will be offering drive-thru clinics for its pediatric patients, ages 5 to 11, on Nov. 13, Nov. 20, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.
The appointment-only clinics will be held on the hospital’s Court Street campus, according to hospital spokeswoman Heather Atwell. Appointments can be scheduled on the hospital’s online patient portal, myDH. Parents can also call their children’s pediatrician to schedule an appointment.
Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough is also hosting two clinics in coming weeks exclusively for its pediatric patients, according to spokesman Phil McFarland. The clinics will be held Dec. 4 and Jan. 8 for kids in the latest approved age group at the hospital on Old Street Road.
Those interested need to call their primary-care provider to schedule an appointment, McFarland said. Parental consent is required for any patients between 5 and 17 years old, he added, and birth certificates are needed for anyone without a photo ID.
The hospital is also hosting two free clinics on Nov. 20 and Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the public at New Ipswich Family Medicine on Turnpike Road. There is no age limitation with these clinics, according to McFarland.
In addition to these clinics, the Greater Monadnock Public Health Network — which has overseen the region’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts — is working to schedule school-based clinics to get more shots in arms, but none were set up as of Tuesday, Atwell said. Schools interested in having a clinic can contact Jane Parayil at email@example.com.
Otherwise, Monadnock Region residents can visit vaccines.nh.gov to find other vaccine locations, such as area pharmacies.