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Grand Forks Public Health to offer small number of COVID vaccines for kids ages 5-11 on Thursday

Vaccination event is set for 3-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, at Grand Cities Mall

US-NEWS-CORONAVIRUS-PFIZER-CHILDREN-GET.jpg
An illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, on Nov. 17, 2020. An FDA report says the benefits likely outweigh the risks in the Pfizer vaccine for children in the 5-11 year old age range. Justin Tallis / AFP / Getty Images / TNS
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Grand Forks Public Health employees are offering COVID-19 vaccines for children, ages 5-11, at the Grand Cities Mall in the former Christian Bookshelf store, located between Ace Hardware and Play It Again Sports.

The age-appropriate dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, on a first come, first served basis, according to Jessica Stuart, vaccination team coordinator and public health nurse.

Pre-registration is not available for this event, Stuart said.

“Our allocation is very small,” she said. “We received only 60 doses.”

“We anticipate using all of our doses. We do not know when we will get more pediatric vaccine,” Stuart said.

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Grand Forks Public Health staff will be in this location six days a week for all other age groups, she said.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine clinics hosted by Grand Forks Public Health, including dates, times, and type of vaccine available, can be found on its website: www.grandforksgov.com/vaccine .

Vaccinations, including boosters, for adults 12 and older will continue as normal.

Many primary care providers are planning pediatric vaccination events, Stuart said. “I recommend checking with them for their event dates and times.”

The only vaccine for children under 18 is Pfizer, she said. “Children ages 5-11 receive a pediatric dose, while those who are 12 and older receive the adult dose.”

“We are very excited to be able to serve children and teens,” Stuart said in a news release issued Wednesday, Nov. 3. “Many parents have been asking for this for a long time. Keeping kids safe is something Grand Forks Public Health is highly focused on, and COVID-19 vaccinations are a big step towards childhood safety.”

To register for a COVID-19 vaccination near you, visit www.ndvax.org or www.vaccines.gov .

“Widespread vaccination for COVID-19 is a critical tool to best protect everyone,” according to the Grand Forks Public Health news release. “People who are fully vaccinated can safely resume many activities that they did prior to the pandemic.”

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In regards to any plans by Grand Forks Public Health to vaccinate in schools, Stuart said that Public Health does not vaccinate in schools.

She said she encourages those who are interested in getting their child or children vaccinated for COVID-19 -- and want to find out where and when vaccinations are available -- to check with their provider or go online to www.ndvax.org .

Grand Forks Public Health does not charge for vaccinations or even collect insurance information, Stuart said. “Other facilities do bill to insurance.”

Stuart said she and her fellow county public health staff members are asking the public to be patient, because “the allocations are small right now, but sometime in the future the pediatric vaccine will be widely available.”

Members of the community are encouraged to rely on credible sources for reliable information about the COVID-19 vaccine, Grand Forks Public Health said. The North Dakota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on this important topic.

For more information, contact Tiffany Boespflug at Grand Forks Public Health, 701-787-8100, or send an email to: GFHealth@grandforksgov.com .

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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