South Carolina moving faster than Georgia on child COVID shots

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 3:40 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With federal approval of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, South Carolina health officials are moving forward, but Georgia is going slower.

Describing itself as “excited,” the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a news release Wednesday that parents could begin getting their kids vaccinated immediately.

But Georgia said vaccinations can begin once the state gets clinical guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is expected in the coming days.

DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer called approval of the vaccine for younger kids “a major step forward for South Carolina and the rest of our nation in our fight against COVID-19.”

He noted that a great deal of research and analysis went into the approval of the vaccine for this age group and the studies show the vaccine is safe and effective.

“Just like a measles or polio shot, the COVID-19 vaccine will stave off this deadly virus and allow our children to safely attend school and focus on bettering themselves in the classroom,” Simmer said. “We strongly urge parents to learn more about this vaccine and protect their children by taking advantage of this life-saving opportunity.”

In anticipation of the approval, DHEC last month began developing its vaccine rollout plan for the age group.

At the same time, the federal government informed South Carolina it would receive 152,100 pediatric vaccine doses in the first week of availability. The state has already received more than 60,000 of these doses and expects to receive the rest of them by Friday. The state will continue to receive weekly shipments beginning next week.

Pediatric vaccinations are being distributed this week to more than 250 vaccine providers in South Carolina, including many pediatricians and family practice providers. The vaccine is also being distributed to many, but not all, hospital systems.

Vaccine providers in Georgia will include medical practices, pediatric practices, family medicine practices and public health clinics. Pediatric COVID vaccine will also be available at pharmacies, community health centers and schools.

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