Bay Area counties prepare to vaccinate kids 5-11 years old ahead of Pfizer's expected authorization

Pfizer is planning to submit data to the FDA by the end of this month.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Pfizer is planning to submit data to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of this month with hopes for a green light to start vaccinating kids 5 to 11 years old before Halloween.

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Health officers across the Bay Area are starting to prepare how distribution will work once the vaccine is authorized for emergency use.

"I'm nervous and a little sad," said Gregorio Ramirez, who lives in San Francisco's Mission District.

Ramirez is a delivery truck driver and constantly worries he will put his 5-year-old son at risk.

"I got to go to work every day talking to different people and some aren't vaccinated," he said.

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The FDA warns that parents should not seek out COVID vaccines for children under 12 as pediatric cases soar.

Susan Rojas works with San Francisco's COVID-19 taskforce. Her staff is already preparing to expand the Mission's 24th Street pop-up site to be able to vaccinate up to 500 children per day once Pfizer's vaccine is authorized.

"We have a lot of families coming in trying to figure out if they can put their names on a waitlist," she said.

Pfizer is expected to submit data for FDA review by late September. UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin-Hong predicts a decision on the EUA will happen before Halloween, but added we should be prepared for delays.

"Because I think there's a lot of pressure to divert resources within the FDA right now to ensure they really have all hands on deck," Chin-Hong said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports there's been a 240% increase in COVID cases among children since early July.

"Luckily not so much in the Bay Area," said Chin-Hong. "But, nevertheless, getting an infection would still lead to a very small proportion of children getting chronic symptoms, which is an issue."

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ABC7 confirmed health departments in all nine Bay Area counties are expanding vaccination clinics and working with pediatric offices to accommodate the heightened demand expected next month.

The city's COVID-19 Latino Taskforce is expecting additional resources to staff the Mission and Bayview vaccination sites once the vaccine is authorized. Rojas says the Mission's 24th Street site is hosting a youth vaccination and testing event every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. for teens ages 12 to 17.

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