MUSC to begin vaccinating kids ages 5-11 Thursday

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Roughly 28-million children are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children ages five and up.

Some 15 million doses are expected to be available by Monday throughout the nation and here in the Lowcountry, some will be available as soon as Thursday through the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

Leaders of the Pediatric Unit at MUSC said they ordered 3,900 pediatric doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which they will begin administering on Thursday at four locations throughout the Lowcountry.

The pediatric doses are one third of the dose that adults get and will be injected using a smaller needle. Children will still need two shots 21 days apart, however, the vaccine will have an orange cap for those administering the vaccine to tell the difference between the doses.  

Dr. Allison Eckard, MUSC’s Division Director for Pediatric Infectious Diseases said the reason that the dose was chosen was that it showed a “good balance between side effects, particularly injection site reactions. So children have a really robust immune system and that third of the dose allowed them to have a really good amount of antibodies to fight COVID.”

Since the pandemic began, officials at the hospital say over 200,000 children have contracted COVID-19 in the state of South Carolina and the younger age group comprises 8% of the total cases in the state. 

It is no longer a question of if a child is going to get infected, really is now when. So, what we really want families to understand is that the vaccine is safe and effective and that if their child is eligible, we strongly recommend that they get their children vaccinated.  

Dr. Allison Eckard, MUSC Division Director for Pediatric Infectious Diseases 

In addition to the nearly 4,000 pediatric doses, the hospital will be teaming up with the Charleston County School District beginning the week of November 15th. Dr. Eckard said even a mild COVID-19 infection will still put children out of school for a minimum of 10 days. 

Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Division Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at MUSC said the urgency to vaccinate comes to protect children ahead of what could be another surge.

She said the prediction model is looking at a potential surge during December and January. Dr. Mack said that unfortunately in South Carolina, we are not close enough to herd immunity either in the adult population or the kid population to be in a state of calm.

Dr. Eckard said for those who are hesitant or say the vaccine was rushed, or we are still learning about it, what is known is that it is life-saving. Even more, the particular type of vaccine has been in development for decades and no steps were skipped in the approval process except the red tape and the bureaucracy. 

Vaccination Schedule for MUSC:

Beginning Thursday, Nov. 4: 

  • 180 Lockwood Blvd.,7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.Saturdays. 
  • ART Pharmacy, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • SJCH Pharmacy,8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • Rutledge Tower Pharmacy,8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday. 

Beginning Friday, Nov. 5: 

  • Summey Medical Pavilion tents, 3–8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. 

Beginning Monday, Nov. 8: 

  • Charleston International Airport,3–8 p.m.Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. 

Beginning Monday, Nov. 8: 

Charleston International Airport,3–8 p.m.Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. 

For more on scheduling a child’s vaccine, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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