ALBANY, N.Y. -- Ahead of an expected approval of COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11, Gov. Kathy Hochul says parents, schools and pediatricians should start preparing now.
The governor says the approval could come as soon as early November, which means 1.5 million kids in New York will be eligible to be vaccinated.
Hochul plans to meet with pediatricians statewide to make sure they have supplies and staffing to handle an influx of appointments.
“I'll be speaking to the New York State chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. I want to tell them directly, from me, how important this is that they make sure that they have the supplies. We'll work with them to have everything they need, and they have additional staffing brought in,” said Hochul. “I anticipate, as a mom who took my kids to get doctor appointments and well visits and vaccines for many years, that there could be actually a rush of interest in this, which is good. But I want to make sure that the doctor's offices, where I think the majority of parents will get those vaccines, are ready for this.”
The state also wants the vaccines offered in or near schools to make them more accessible, and Hochul says the state will help provide support to make that happen.
“We can come up with the forms, we can come up with the parental approval slip, the permission slip that parents may need. We will make this as easy as we can for the schools,” said Hochul. “So they will step up, particularly, you know, this will be in elementary schools now that they'll be ready to offer those shots, the vaccines in the schools, which I think will be easiest, as well as other places in their community.”
Hochul is urging parents to make pediatric appointments now if they want to get their child vaccinated in anticipation of the November approval.
“And just again to the parents, I'm telling the parents: make your appointments now, you don't know, you don't want to hear that the first appointment available is in February when you want your child to have that shot as soon as possible,” said Hochul. “So I would encourage parents to start making appointments with their pediatricians, knowing that this is going to be coming out early- to mid-November.”
Pfizer officially requested emergency use authorization for the younger age group earlier in October.