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Walz: Minnesota ready to give kids 5-11 COVID vaccines

Following an emergency use authorization from the CDC, kids 5 to 11 can get a COVID vaccine as early as this week.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The attached video originally aired on Oct. 27, 2021

Following an endorsement from the CDC, the state of Minnesota will begin vaccinating younger children against COVID this week. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Governor briefed the media on the state's plan to vaccinate younger Minnesotans against COVID.

"This is a great day. We're prepared to have a big push here over the next few weeks. We've got about 500,000 5-to-11 year-olds now eligible, we want to get as many as possible vaccinated, and once we do, things look a lot better going into the holidays," said Governor Walz at the Mall of America on Wednesday.

To help families find a site for a vaccine and to answer any questions or concerns, Gov. Tim Walz announced early Tuesday the launch of a new website with information about the Pfizer COVID vaccine for teens and kids. 

Doses are scheduled to arrive in Minnesota in waves this week, with many providers receiving vaccines by this weekend, according to information from the governor's office. 

“Getting our children vaccinated will help our kids be kids again,” said Governor Walz in a press release. “Now that the vaccine is approved for kids ages 5-11, Minnesota is ready to administer these shots quickly, efficiently, and equitably. I encourage families to make a plan to get their child vaccinated and help keep them safe.”

RELATED: Kids 5-11 can get COVID vaccine as CDC gives final clearance

The state has also produced two videos featuring Minnesota pediatricians sharing information about the vaccine. One of them shares information for parents, the other is a message from doctors about the importance of getting kids vaccinated. 

There are more than half a million children in Minnesota that are now eligible for a COVID vaccine, raising the number of people statewide who qualify to 94% of the population. 

To help as many people as possible get access to vaccines, the Walz-Flanagan administration has enlisted a network of more than 1,100 providers, including 530 pediatric and family medicine clinics, primary care providers, federally qualified health centers, local public health agencies, tribal health agencies, and Indian Health Service locations to offer the shots. 

More than 600 pharmacies are also preparing to provide COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 12 in some or all their locations, based on supply from the federal government, the governor's office said. 

School districts are preparing to host vaccination clinics, including three districts and schools partnering with the administration this week. Over the next three weeks 15 more school-based vaccination clinics are planned in high-need areas, with more in the works. 

“As we continue to prioritize safe in-person learning, I am so grateful that even more Minnesota students are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. “Families have plenty of options to get the vaccine, thanks to our incredible network of school and health care partners. I encourage all eligible Minnesotans, regardless of age, to get vaccinated and protect one another.”

Find more information about where to find a COVID vaccine for children from the state's website here.