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Louisiana to receive 148K coronavirus vaccine doses for kids


FILE – This October 2021, photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. (Pfizer via AP, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top public health official said Wednesday the state expects to receive 148,000 initial doses of the pediatric coronavirus vaccine, though the doses are trickling in across three shipments and may not be immediately available through health care providers.

Dr. Joe Kanter, with the state Department of Health, said he expects all of Louisiana’s vaccine providers will have gotten their doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children by early next week. That will be enough shots to cover 35% of the state’s 420,000 children between ages 5 and 11.

Kanter urged parents to contact Louisiana’s vaccine hotline at 855-453-0774 or 211 to find out where the pediatric coronavirus vaccines are available. More than 450 clinics, pharmacies, and other health providers are signed up to distribute the shots.

The state health department encouraged parents with questions to reach out to their pediatricians.

For children ages 5 to 11, the Pfizer vaccine dosage is about one-third of what’s given to people age 12 and older, Kanter said. The younger children still will need to receive two shots, 21 days apart to be considered fully immunized, just like teenagers and adults who get the Pfizer vaccine.

Leaders of the Louisiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics encouraged parents to consider vaccination to help protect children from the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus and tried to push back against misinformation.

“There’s nothing nefarious in this vaccine or its development,” said Shreveport Dr. John Vanchiere.

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