IN Focus: Federal officials discuss plans to distribute vaccines for 5-11 year olds

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INDIANAPOLIS – As Indiana sees a continued decline in daily COVID-19 cases, the Biden administration is looking to expand its vaccination strategy in the coming weeks to children 5 to 11 years old.

The new plan will allow kids to receive lower-dose shots at their pediatrician’s office, local pharmacy, or their school. The White House expects approval for Pfizer’s vaccine for younger children very soon, with federal regulators from the FDA meeting this week.

Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House Vaccination Coordinator, spoke with IN Focus this week to describe how his team in Washington is preparing for the potential nationwide rollout, and says he is confident that the administration will quickly provide shots for young children.

“We know we have about 28 million kids five to eleven in this country, and we have to be ready,” Dr. Choucair said. “We’ve been spending a lot of time making sure that we have tens of thousands of family [doctors] and pediatricians ready to administer vaccines at their offices.”

Dr. Choucair also emphasized the growing demand to have kids vaccinated, amid increasingly heated debates about mask mandates in schools. Saying that a majority of parents want their kids vaccinated, Dr. Choucair stressed that Washington is ready to meet the demand.

“So we know there are a lot of parents who are either ready now, or they want some more information before they make up their mind,” Dr. Choucair said. “That’s why it’s important to be ready, it’s important to have all the channels ready to accept kids and get them vaccinated.”

Dr. Choucair also spoke on the death of former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, who died from complications of COVID despite being fully vaccinated. General Powell was reportedly also undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma, which weakened his immune system and made it much harder to fight the disease. Dr. Choucair says that this is an important sign for more people to get vaccinated to protect the high-risk individuals around them.

“It’s really important that if you are already eligible for the booster shots, to go ahead and get your booster shot,” Dr. Choucair.

Hear more from the White House Vaccination Coordinator in the video above from this week’s IN Focus.

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