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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is preparing to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 5 and to ensure that families across the state have the information they need to access the vaccines they need. immunizations for their young children. Children are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, just like everyone else.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could license a vaccine for children six months to five years and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would recommend it as soon as this weekend, and vaccination in Carolina del Norte could start the week of June 20.
“We have never stopped working to ensure that vaccines are distributed quickly, fairly and everywhere for North Carolinians,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “It’s exciting that our best tool against COVID-19, vaccines that are safe and effective, can soon be available to our youngest North Carolinians and, thanks to our preparedness, will be available on day one in all 100 counties.” “.
The NCDHHS strategy for equitable distribution of vaccines ensures that the vaccine will be available in all 100 North Carolina counties when it is licensed and recommended. All local health departments will receive the vaccine, and more than 300 pediatric practices in North Carolina have signed up to provide the vaccine and will receive shipments from NCDHHS over the next two weeks. The vaccine will also be available at family medicine offices. In addition, the vaccine will be available in pharmacies for children 3 years and older.
Communication efforts are also underway statewide to provide families with information about COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years of age. NCDHHS is prepared to:
- Host virtual events in English and Spanish across the state soon after possible authorization to educate parents and families.
- Launch a digital, broadcast, and social media educational campaign with healthcare providers and families who participated in clinical trials of the vaccine.
- Send a postcard to families who have children who may be eligible for the new vaccines.
- Add additional resources to the Healthy Summer campaign, which includes more than 280 organizations in more than 60 counties across the state sharing messages about vaccination.
- Distribute materials through the Healthier Communities partnership, which works with community organizations across the state to reach historically underserved communities.
NCDHHS has also done the following to help ensure a smooth implementation:
- Launched an “Intention to Vaccinate” survey to assess health providers’ interest in providing vaccines for children under 5 years of age.
- Opened vaccine order requests to vaccine providers early, allowing NCDHHS to target areas with the greatest need for vaccines across the state and track targeted outreach and recruitment.
- Enrolled 71.9% of Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program, and recruitment efforts will continue. The VFC program provides federal funds for providers to offer vaccines at no cost to low-income families.
- Hosted biweekly meetings with provider associations to answer questions and assist with enrollment, these meetings will continue to be implemented.
- Worked with OB/GYNs across the state to increase information and awareness of the vaccine to reach caregivers of younger children.
“Our youngest residents will have a chance to be protected against COVID-19 if the FDA and CDC move forward with licensing and recommending these vaccines,” said Susan Kansagra, MD, assistant secretary of public health and state health officer. of the NCDHHS. “We know that parents are eagerly awaiting this decision and we are working with vaccine providers to be ready to provide the protection of these safe and effective vaccines.”
To learn more about how childhood vaccines work and where you can find a vaccination appointment near you, visit Vacunate.nc.gov. The North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccination Help Center can also help you make an appointment by calling 888-675-4567. The Help Center is open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and from 8 am to 4 pm on weekends. Parents and guardians who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines can also talk to their child’s health care provider.