Michigan prepares to vaccinate kids 5-11 against COVID starting this week

Whitmer’s office says state will be prepared to distribute vaccines for kids

Pfizer's pediatric vaccine

The state of Michigan said it pre-ordered 287,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive last week to state departments and agencies to “expedite the ordering and distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccinations to protect younger Michiganders between the ages of 5 to 11 years old,” according to her office.

U.S. health officials on Tuesday, Nov. 2, gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot for ages 5 to 11, paving the way for the state to get the shots into little Michiganders.

Whitmer’s office said the state would be prepared to have the doses distributed and ready for administration.

“Being able to vaccinate children ages 5-11 with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine brings us hope and also an opportunity to urge all eligible Michiganders to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) chief medical executive. “We know these vaccines work. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and now 825,000 children in our state are now eligible to be protected.”

According to the governor’s office, this executive directive expedites the administration of pediatric vaccinations by:

  • Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to take all appropriate action to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is available to all children in Michigan as soon as they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • Encouraging all pediatric vaccination providers to enroll as COVID-19 vaccine providers, including by educating pediatricians and family practice providers about eligibility, barriers to access, and the importance of pediatric vaccination.
  • Promoting vaccination in settings that facilitate ease of access, including by working with child and adolescent health centers serving grades K-12, federal qualified health centers, pharmacies, local health departments, and community clinics.
  • Promoting equity in accessibility of pediatric vaccination, considering barriers to access presented by geography, income, age, race, ethnicity, primary language, or disability status.

The directive also requires the state of Michigan to regularly report the proportion of children ages 5 to 11 who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, more than 69% of Michiganders 16 years or older and more than 64% of Michiganders 12 years or older have received at least their first dose of one of the three safe, effective vaccines.

According to the state’s data, from January to October 2021 unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 93.1% of COVID cases, 90.7% of hospitalizations and 90.5% of deaths.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.