INDIANAPOLIS — As soon as June 21, vaccines for kids under five years old could become available, according to the White House.
Ahead of that date clinics, doctors and the Indiana Department of Health are preparing.
Next week, the Federal Drug Administration will review both Moderna and Pfizer data to decide on emergency use authorizations.
IDOH tells WRTV that in anticipation of the announcement, it has surveyed and placed orders for these vaccines to ensure they will be ready as soon as possible.
A spokesperson with IDOH noted "198 unique survey responses with requests for pediatric doses."
Moderna would be a two-dose series, while Pfizer would be three doses for this age group.
Dr. John Christenson, the associate medical director of infection prevention at Riley Hospital for Children, stresses the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations for all ages. That includes those under five.
“Remember, vaccines take a little bit of time to work. Usually, It takes about a couple of weeks before you can boost your antibodies to the level that you need to protect yourself, especially if you’re getting a vaccine that requires multiple doses," Christenson said.
"You want to start as soon as that vaccine becomes available, and you want to start so they can be protected when school starts. When it’s time to go back to daycare,” he added.
IDOH said it has submitted the first batch of orders for 20,100 doses of pediatric Moderna and 37,700 pediatric Pfizer doses.
An IDOH spokesperson provided the following statement to WRTV via email:
"In alignment with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Indiana Department of Health believes that children under age 5 are best seen in their medical home so that providers can conduct assessments and provide preventive care. At this time we do not plan mass vaccination clinics for children under age 5 because we want to encourage them to be seen in their medical home. Once vaccines are approved for this age group, we plan to update www.ourshot.in.gov to indicate locations where the dosage for children under 5 is available."
The Fishers Health Department is one of those which sent in its order ahead of the possible approval. Public Health Director Monica Heltz said her team has already undergone training ahead of the rollout.
“We typically take walk-ins but for this particular rollout ... anytime there’s a new group that rolls out, I would strongly encourage appointments wherever you’re going, just so that you know that you’ll have a reserve spot and it’s not going to be a madhouse,” Heltz said.
Since moving out of the mass vaccination clinic in an old Marsh this spring, Heltz said vaccine traffic is a consistent “trickle.” She estimates about 50 people a day come for a COVID-19 vaccine, whether it's their first, second or booster shots.
Both medical professionals are encouraging parents and guardians to not only consider the COVID-19 vaccine but to also make sure their children are up-to-date on all vaccines.