JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The state of Mississippi has pre-ordered almost 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in anticipation of the shots being approved for 5 to 11-year-olds early next week, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said Thursday.
Earlier this week, an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration endorsed the kid-size doses. The FDA is expected to authorize the shots within days, followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention next week.
More than 300 providers, including pediatricians offices, family physicians and county health departments, have signed up to assist in the effort of vaccinating Mississippi’s children, officials said.
“I think that there’s gonna be broad availability for these vaccines for the parents that are interested in going ahead and get their kids vaccinated right out of the gate,” Byers said.
Around 272,000 children ages 5 to 11 live in Mississippi, according to U.S. census data.
Senior Deputy for the Mississippi Department of Health and Director of Health Protection Jim Craig said he’s received inquiries from many parents who are interested in getting the shots for their kids.
“I’ve long worried that, while we had vaccine opportunities for many of the adults so they could help protect themselves, what we lacked was the opportunity to help protect some of these younger children,” Craig said.
Since the start of the pandemic in Mississippi, nine children have died of COVID-19 in the state.