Santa Clara County Officials Prepared for Approval of COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5

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Santa Clara County health officials said Friday that they are ready to open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to the county's youngest children once they are federally authorized as expected next week.

Federal regulators are on track to approve the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines as soon as this weekend for children between 6 months and 5 years old.

According to Dr. Ahmad Kamal, the county's COVID-19 director of healthcare preparedness, the county has been preparing for the approval of vaccines for young children "for weeks."

Once the vaccines arrive in the county, Kamal said, they will be available at county-run sites at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and at 80 Highland Ave. in San Martin. The county also plans to open a vaccination site in Mountain View next week to serve north county residents.

"We will aim, as we always have, to make vaccinations convenient, to make them accessible, to make them equitable and to make them safe for every single resident of the county, regardless of where they live or their insurance status," Kamal said.

County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody urged residents with young children to get them vaccinated soon after they are eligible, as COVID transmission remains high in the county.

Recent wastewater surveillance across the county has shown levels of the virus that are similar to the height of the county's omicron variant wave during the early months of 2022.

Cody also said that the current level of transmission may be the peak of the current surge.

"The take home is COVID levels are almost as high as they were at the peak of omicron and it is really important to wear your mask when you are indoors to protect yourself," Cody said.

NBC Bay Area's Janelle Wang spoke to Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF about the FDA approving a COVID-19 vaccine for kids at least 6 months old.

According to county officials, roughly 100,000 children in Santa Clara County are between 6 months and 5 years old.

Overall, 86 percent of the total county population has completed their initial vaccination series. In addition, roughly 70 percent of those age 5 and up who are eligible for a booster vaccine dose have received one.

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