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Here's how many Pfizer doses for kids Mecklenburg County could receive in first shipment

The Pfizer vaccine could be approved for kids between 5 and 11 as soon as November. Plans are underway in Mecklenburg County for when it happens.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Mecklenburg County's Health Department will likely receive around 13,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for kids, once approved.

That's nowhere close to the 100,000 children in the county who would be eligible. 

Parents may be keeping a close eye on what happens at the end of October. The Food & Drug Administration could amend Pfizer's emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine to include children ages 5 to 11. Currently, the vaccine is only authorized for kids who are at least 12

The agency will hold a meeting on Oct. 26 to review the data. If the FDA and CDC sign off on it, it means elementary school kids could start getting shots in November.

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In Mecklenburg County, COVID-19 among children has been on the rise. 

"This has been an area of great concern to us," Dr. Raynard Washington, the county's deputy health director, said. "Obviously many of our children are unable to be vaccinated."

Washington noted though, final approval for the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11 is coming soon and could help with the tough reality. 

"We could have approval for kids 5 to 11 as soon as November 3 if the CDC director makes her recommendation at that time," he told county commissioners Tuesday night. 

If approval is signed off, Mecklenburg County will likely get 13,500 doses in the first shipment, according to Washington. It's a sliver of what's needed to vaccinate the county's 100,000 children who Washington said are in that age range.

"Are you pushing for more, I hope?" Commissioner Pat Cotham asked at Tuesday night's board of county commissioners meeting. 

"We believe that we'll have adequate supply within the first couple of weeks," Washington said. "However, we won't be able to vaccinate 100,000 people in the first couple of weeks."

As for the Pfizer doses that are already in the county and not being taken by adults, Washington said they cannot be given to children. 

"The dosing is a little bit different and so it is packaged different and is separate," Washington said. "It has to be drawn from a different vial."

Washington said the county health department will give the doses they receive from the state to local medical providers like Atrium Health and Novant, which will roll them out in hopes of more community protection, including in pediatric clinics. 

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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