Nine-year-old Parson Harrington had to isolate more than most during this pandemic — and the lung transplant recipient hopes the Covid-19 vaccine she received in Houston on Wednesday is her ticket to relief and freedom.Parson is one of numerous children ages 5-11 who lined up for a dose around the country on the first full day that kids in this age group were eligible in the US after the CDC gave its endorsement Tuesday.Parson’s mother registered her for a shot Tuesday night, and then drove her more than two hours to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston for the inoculation Wednesday morning.

Why these families are jumping at the chance to get their kids vaccinated against Covid-19Because Parson had a lung transplant as an infant, she was advised to stay away from in-person class and, generally, the public over fears she was more susceptible to harm from Covid-19.

“It’s almost like it’s a first step to hopefully get living again,” her mother, Jennifer Harrington, told CNN.The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for this younger age group last week, giving the company the first emergency use authorization for a Covid-19 shot for younger kids in the United States.The FDA’s and CDC’s moves opened eligibility to 28 million children. Availability will be limited for the first few days, as venues cannot simply use the vaccines they already have for ages 12 and up.The vaccines authorized for ages 5-11 are reformulated at one-third the dose of what people 12 years and older get. They’re also repackaged with a new orange top, so it will be difficult to mix up with the adult vaccine.

Why Covid-19 vaccines for younger children would come in smaller dosesThe country’s vaccine program for ages 5-11 will be “running at full strength” by next week, and the number of sites offering the shots will increase throughout the month, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients has said.But many venues still were offering doses by appointment Wednesday. And the demand at the Texas Children’s Hospital system has been tremendous, an official there said.By Wednesday, some 37,000 Covid-19 vaccine appointments had been booked through the week of Thanksgiving for kids ages 5-11, said Jermaine Monroe, co-chair of a Covid-19 task force for the system.”We’ve not experienced anything like this,” Monroe said of the demand for vaccines. “We’ve planned for it, and we’re glad … because many people thought that there would not be high demand.”President Joe Biden called the expanded eligibility a turning point in the battle against the pandemic.”It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others. It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus,” Biden said Tuesday in a statement.Texas’ health services department says its state alone expects to receive 1.3 million doses for ages 5-11 over the next week, more than 400,000 of which already had arrived by Wednesday.Pharmacy chain Walgreens has said it will begin offering the shots for ages 5-11 by appointment starting Saturday in select stores around the country — and that parents could start scheduling those appointments Wednesday.Like adults, children ages 5-11 who receive the Pfizer vaccine are advised to get a second dose at least 21 days after their first.Opening up eligibility for the vaccine to more children marks a hopeful milestone in the pandemic. But it also comes as the nation is yet again reminded of the gravity of the crisis, with the US passing 750,000 Covid-19 deaths Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.,50834687.html–174856293/

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