COVID-19 vaccine: Santa Clara Co. plans 'activities' to aid in vaccination of eligible children

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- An FDA panel voted Tuesday on Pfizer vaccines for kids 5 to 11-years-old. The decision now paves the way for emergency authorization.

At the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds vaccination site, staff is set and ready to welcome the youngest and latest to receive eligibility.

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Preparation for this location included weeks of planning and options to help families pass time.

"We have scavenger hunts, decorations- fun activities throughout the whole process," Clinical Site Lead Bethany Burlison told ABC7 News. "From beginning to end."

She added, the county will also have inflatable animals on site to entertain kids.

Burlison said staff is also being required to attend pediatric training to make sure everyone is up to speed on how to cater to kids.

According to directions posted on tables, there are photos and written direction to show proper positioning when administering the shot to a child- steps that also involve parents.

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Separate from the site at the fairgrounds, the county also plans to activate its mobile vaccination clinic and bring the lower-dose Pfizer vaccine to schools in hard-to-reach parts of the county. Specifically, communities where vaccine rates may be lagging.

"There's a lot of different reasons that would stop someone from going to an actual site. So, if you go to them out in the community, that's 100% the answer," Burlison added.

Vaccines for 28 million children could get final FDA authorization in the coming days. A final decision by the FDA is expected any day, followed by the CDC.

Shipping of pediatric doses will begin immediately after FDA authorization. Pediatric vaccines have a 10-week shelf life, compared to 6 to 9 months for adult shots.

Santa Clara County has requested enough vaccine for 167,000 newly eligible children.

"Honestly, a lot of the preparation's already taken place. So, as soon as we have the word, we're ready to start," Burlison shared.

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She said beyond the activities that will soon accompany the experience at the fairgrounds site, parents can prepare their children by discussing in detail, what she calls the "latest opportunity for protection."

Burlison suggested, "Let them know that there's finally an available opportunity for protection to keep you from getting sick."

The county said it has five main sites prepped and ready to go, when eligible. They said some sites will also have drive-thru options.

For more information about Santa Clara County's handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic, click here.

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