On Tuesday, Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine gained federal approval for children ages 5 to 11, expanding protections for a broader swath of the population and ensuring safer schooling with fewer disruptions.

The state of Wyoming has already received 18,900 of the kid-size doses, which carry one-third the power of Pfizer’s adult vaccine. The two-dose series is administered three weeks apart, and Teton County Health Department is eager to start getting shots in arms.

“Our hope is by having more people in our community vaccinated that transmission of COVID-19 continues to go down,” Public Health Response Coordinator Rachael Wheeler told the Jackson Hole Daily on Wednesday.

The department is hosting three vaccine clinics for children in the new age bracket Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and Nov. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. All appointments must be scheduled online at HIPAA.jotform.com/TCHD/kidscovidvax.

So far, parents seem eager to vaccinate their children. The form went live on Wednesday, and within hours the Nov. 11 clinic was completely booked.

For those who are more reticent to vaccinate their kids, health officials recommend having a conversation with a pediatrician or a primary health care provider.

“There’s always a risk or a decision you have to make with any medical treatment or procedure,” Wheeler said, adding:

“This vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective. And if that keeps children from developing either severe COVID, or have longterm effects from COVID, the benefits of this vaccine far outweigh any risks.”

In the coming weeks, the county will receive three shipments of 600 kid-size Pfizer doses on allocation from the state health department. The hope is to administer 750 jabs between the first three clinics, then expand from there.

Because of its nonvisitation policy, Teton County School District No. 1 is not planning to host any vaccination events. (Children 5 to 11 need a parent or guardian with them to get the shot.)

Youth vaccinations mean fewer students will miss school because of COVID exposures, but at least in the short term, the masking requirement won’t be lifted.

The district is following Teton County’s Public Health Order No. 21-5, which requires universal masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status, as long as the county remains at moderate risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Contact Evan Robinson-Johnson at 732-5901 or ERJ@jhnewsandguide.com.

Evan Robinson-Johnson covers issues residents face on a daily basis, from smoky skies to housing insecurity. Originally from New England, he has settled in east Jackson and avoids crowds by rollerblading through the alleyways.

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(1) comment

Judd Grossman

Seems cringey to vaccinate kids, who are are extremely low risk, to make adults feel safe.

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