WACO, Texas — Central Texas health departments are gearing up to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11 as authorization could come as early as the first week of November.
The White House announced its plans for the rollout of the vaccine to 28 million American children on Wednesday morning.
This comes as the FDA's independent advisory council is set to meet next Tuesday and the CDC's independent advisory council is set to meet on Nov. 2 and 3.
"We've already been contacted by the Department of State Health Services about preparing and making orders in advance," said Waco-McLennan County Public Health District public information officer Kelly Craine.
In Waco, Temple, and Killeen ISD, elementary school students make up over 44 percent of all student cases since August. The recent wave of the virus hit young children much harder than previous waves.
"This fall, with everyone going back to school, we've seen way more cases in kids so we want to protect our kids any way that we can," said Texas A&M Central Texas nursing department director Amy Mersiovsky.
A lower-dosage Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to be the first authorized for use in younger children.
"It's designed specifically for them, it's not like they repackaged a vial and said it's good for kids," Craine said.
In a statement to 25 News, Bell County Public Health District wrote, "We expect to receive the vaccine in early November. This is an important step to keeping our younger population healthy and fighting the spread of COVID-19.”
Mersiovsky said she hopes that vaccines in elementary schools mean safer classrooms for kids and adults alike.
"We know we've had several teachers get really really sick this fall and we've got to protect everyone," Mersiovsky said.