PHOENIX (AP) — Children in Arizona as young as 12 can get a COVID-19 vaccine when receiving other immunizations, health officials said Friday.
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the state Department of Health Services, said pediatricians, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, can administer the Pfizer vaccine alongside other childhood vaccines. Previously, the CDC had recommended children wait two weeks in between vaccinations.
The hope is to further reduce “potential missed opportunities to vaccinate,” Christ said during a virtual media briefing. Furthermore, parents need to make sure children are caught up on childhood immunizations in general because fewer were sought during the pandemic.
Christ also expressed optimism that the Pfizer vaccine would be approved for children ages 2-11 by September.
Vaccine demand has been low statewide. Arizona at its peak doled out between 60,000 to 80,000 doses daily, according to Christ. In recent days, around 20,000 doses have been administered. As a result, the hours and days of operations at some state vaccine pods will be modified.
A pop-up vaccination clinic for children planned for Saturday in Phoenix's largely Latino Maryvale neighborhood will mark a renewed effort to get to underserved communities.
The Arizona Department of Health Services said people will be going door-to-door to educate residents about vaccines and distribute yard signs.
Overall, more than 5.6 million vaccine doses have been given out in the state. Roughly 3.2 million people, or 44.3% of Arizona’s eligible population, have received at least one dose. Around 2.7 million are fully vaccinated.
The state dashboard on Friday reported 577 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 more deaths. The total number of pandemic cases and deaths now stands at 875,766 and 17,531, respectively.
The in-patient hospitalizations because of the virus decreased slightly to 581. Of those, 167 were patients in the ICU.
The seven-day rolling average of Arizona's daily virus cases was 575.3 as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day rolling average of daily virus-related deaths was 10.1.