The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Maine, the northeasternmost state of the US has been quite high. The state has been found with the lowest rate of immunization so far. Health experts and school authorities have said that they have been waiting for COVID19 shots for children who are in the age group of 5 years to 11 years. The US government has informed that vaccination for children who are in the age group of 5 to 11 years will begin soon after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews the safety data next week and a key federal advisory committee gathers to evaluate the findings of clinical trials in the first week of November. Considering high levels of viral transmission across the state along with the increased number of COVID19 hospitalizations and deaths, health experts from the state have said that they need to have federal approval for vaccination among younger kids as soon as possible. The vice president of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Laura Blaisdell has said that the long wait for the sanction of kids’ vaccination has been a huge matter of concern among pediatricians in Maine and across the country. She has said that vaccination remains the best and only tool to provide safe childhood to children. It is the only way forward to offer to them safe playdates and holiday gatherings without the fear of contracting the virus. Experts have said that that the next stage of immunization is expected to include widespread access to booster shots for adults who have already been fully vaccinated.
Next week, an advisory committee of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is going to review data and references on booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The CDC advisory panel might give sanctions to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots within a few days. Health experts from the CDC have already authorized booster shots from Pfizer. Health officials from Maine have said that in the meantime, pediatricians, school authorities, and health care officials are making all arrangements in the state to start administering doses among children who are in the age group of 5 to 11 years as soon as the sanction is granted. The head of Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah has said that school premises are expected to be prime locations for children’s vaccination. Pharmacies and pediatric offices across the state as well will play a pivotal role. He has said that the approach of the US government to vaccinate kids is in line with what Maine health officials have been planning. Dr. Nirav Shah has said that the vaccine rollout among children will include efforts to reach out to the highest number of families and kids.
He has said that we need to be clear in our messaging as many adults who themselves have taken COVID19 shots might have come concerns regarding vaccinating their children. The most essential thing is making people aware of the safety of COVID19 shots. The FDA and the CDC as well have been spreading the same message to the public and the agencies have been quite transparent about the safety of the shots. A pediatrician from Martin’s Point Health Care in Portland, Dr. Patrick Connolly has said that once children who are below 12 years are eligible for vaccination, they will be able to get the vaccine at his clinic during regular visits. He has said that he has been getting many queries regarding vaccination and parents have been quite anxious about getting their kids immunized. He has said that though there are many concerns regarding the safety of COVID19 shots for children, the data of vaccination among adults has been quite promising that has shown that COVID19 shots have been quite efficient.
Another pediatrician named Dr. Jay Larmon from InterMed Primary Care has said that there are many parents who are excited about the fact that soon their children will be getting the vaccine. He has said that as soon as health agencies; the FDA and the CDC give a go-ahead to vaccination for children, he will be able to roll out vaccines at their clinic giving wide access to vaccines for children in the age group of 5 to 11 years. Dr. Jay Larmon has said that this time, the vaccine rollout for children is going to be much smoother and rapid as compared to the initial vaccination rollout among health care workers and elderly people as the state is ready with an adequate amount of vaccine supply to be administered. Dr. Nirav Shah has said that COVID19 shots for children do not require to be stored in ultra-cold storage. Doses can be ordered in small lots to transport to more locations. Some school districts such as School Administrative District 51, in Cumberland and the Brunswick School Department in the state, have already started preparing to install vaccination clinics for younger children. Superintendent Jeff Porter of SAD 51 has said that the district hopes to have a vaccination clinic ready for younger kids as soon as the FDA gives a green signal, which is likely to happen in November.
The district authorities are planning to join hands with a health care provides for the vaccine rollout. The school department in Brunswick has been planning to install pediatric vaccination clinics in association with Mid Coast Hospital since this summer. Superintendent of Brunswick, Shawn Lambert has been eagerly waiting for a pediatric vaccination sanction. Mid Coast Hospital has been closely working with schools in the Bath and Topsham regions on preparing pediatric vaccination clinics. The hospital administration has informed that health care staff will be deployed in the school-based vaccination clinics that will be installed in addition to community-based vaccination sites. On the other hand, the State Health Department has reported 649 new cases of COVID19. Around seven additional people have lost their lives to the SARS-CoV-2 virus across the state. Experts have said that the seven-day daily case average has reduced to 491 cases, the figure is a little lower as compared to the seven-day daily case average two weeks back. Nearly 199 people have been admitted to hospitals this week. About 68 of them have required critical care while 34 of them have been on ventilators.