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Shipments of Pfizer COVID vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds start to arrive in Oklahoma

Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID vaccine for young children is a lower dose formulation of the companies' adult vaccine. It was found to be safe and 90.7% effective at preventing COVID-19.
Paul Hennessy
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SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty
Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID vaccine for young children is a lower dose formulation of the companies' adult vaccine. It was found to be safe and 90.7% effective at preventing COVID-19.

Shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recently authorized for kids 5 to 11 years old are starting to arrive in Oklahoma, though it will take a little time before it becomes widely available.

The Tulsa Health Department expects its first shipment next week, and parents and guardians will be able to start scheduling appointments at THD vaccine clinics at that time. Pharmacies and doctors' offices will start getting doses after that.

OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said with 5- to 11-year-olds representing about 9% of the state’s population, getting them vaccinated is a good opportunity to keep Oklahoma’s case numbers down.

"We still have a big opportunity for vaccinating kids, adolescents, between the ages of 12 and 17 because in Oklahoma, only about 30% of that population is currently fully vaccinated," Bratzler said.

There have been more than 14,000 confirmed cases of COVID among Tulsa County kids ages 5 to 17, and two have died.

OU Health Adolescent Medicine Specialist Dr. Shauna Lawlis is encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated against the illness. She said she understands some people are wary of a new class of vaccine that seems like it was developed in no time.

"But it's been in the works for decades because it is based on other science that they have used in the past. And then also being a doctor and being around colleagues who had a lot of experience with it and we could read the papers on it and really understand it, it made a lot of sense to me, and I do trust it," Lawlis said.

Lawlis enrolled her 1-year-old son in a clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine, which is also an mRNA vaccine. Moderna has not been approved for use in kids yet.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.