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State outlines strategy to vaccinate children 6 months and older

The news comes after an FDA panel voted unanimously to recommend the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years of age.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The Walz administration announced its strategy Wednesday to tackle COVID-19 in children 6 months and older after the FDA voted unanimously to recommend both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children under 5.

Before vaccines arrive in state — which officials say could be as soon as "early next week" — the vaccines will need to gain a recommendation from a CDC panel before being authorized for use, which could happen this weekend.

The Walz administration says a majority of doses will be administered within medical systems through pediatricians, family care providers, local clinics and pharmacies based on their "expertise caring for young children."

“This is a landmark moment in Minnesota’s fight against the pandemic," said the governor. “We have worked with an extensive network of health experts and community partners to help make sure Minnesota families who want a vaccine can get their child the shots. Once the CDC recommends the vaccines, I urge the federal government to quickly ship doses to our providers. Soon, the whole family can finally have strong protection against COVID-19.”

The administration reminds Minnesotans that initial demand will be high as shipments begin to trickle into the state, and that attempts to schedule appointments at specific locations may initially take up to "several weeks."

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the administration outlined a network of roughly 414 locations that plan to offer vaccines for children of differing ages — most of which say they will begin vaccinations within one week of receiving their doses. 

Additionally, the state plans to utilize its community vaccination center at the Mall of America to begin inoculating children as soon as Wednesday, June 22, and says 21 COVID-19 community coordinators are on hand to host additional vaccination clinics across Minnesota.

“Minnesota families should make a plan now to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. "Many children have missed important well-child visits and recommended vaccinations during the pandemic, and now is a great time to reconnect with your child’s health care provider to make sure that your child is up to date on everything necessary to be healthy.”

Should the vaccines clear federal advisory panels and reach authorization, the state says parents and guardians can locate vaccines for their children, here — which the state says will be updated ongoingly. 

You can find more state resources on COVID-19 shots and testing for children, here

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