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Texas ordering 1.3 million vaccines for kids 5 to 11 before FDA, CDC approval

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

The vaccines will be distributed once vaccines have gone through the FDA and CDC recommendation and approval process, the state said.
A Medical Professional prepares Pfizer vaccine
A medical professional prepares a Pfizer vaccine during a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic operated by Dallas County Health and Human Services.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

By Nataly Keomoungkhoun

The Texas state health department and providers across the state will receive approximately 1.3 million doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced Monday.

The vaccines, which have not yet been recommended or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were ordered as part of the federal government’s process called “pre-order prior to launch,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner of laboratory and infectious disease services.

“This enables the state to place vaccine orders before the FDA authorization, and before the CDC recommendation process is complete,” she said.

An FDA committee is expected to meet Tuesday and make a recommendation to the larger agency for approval. An FDA review already found that the vaccine’s benefits outnumber the risks in almost every scenario. The CDC will then meet Nov. 2 and 3 to sign off on the vaccines for kids. Vaccines could begin for kids ages 5 to 11 in early November.

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There are roughly 2.9 million children between ages 5 and 11 in Texas.

Orders for the pediatric vaccines were placed in three waves, Garcia said. The first two were submitted Thursday and Saturday following a webinar with providers throughout the state. The third wave of vaccines was expected to be ordered Monday evening, Garcia said.

The first wave of orders, consisting of 404,100 doses, will be shipped between one to five days after the FDA issues an emergency use authorization for the vaccine; the second wave of 303,300 doses will be shipped between three to seven days; and the third wave, with 303,300 doses, will be shipped five to nine days. About 700 Texas pharmacies enrolled in the federal program have placed orders for 260,100 doses.

Garcia said 814 providers across 120 Texas counties will be receiving a shipment of Pfizer pediatric vaccines in the first wave. About 130 counties will not receive the vaccine in the first wave because they did not place orders, she said, but numbers may change as allocations are finalized.

Counties that miss the deadline for placing orders can send patients to state-contracted vaccine facilities for their shots.

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The vaccines will be given in two doses that are 21 days apart, said Saroj Rai, a senior scientific advisor to Texas DSHS. The doses will be about one-third the amount given to adults. Trial results for the vaccine have shown a 91% efficacy rate, she said.

“The most common side effects reported or pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache,” Rai said. “And based on the results reported, there were no cases reported of myocarditis and pericarditis.”

Dallas County

Dallas County reported 75 more COVID-19 deaths and 3,225 new coronavirus cases in the past week.

County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement that those eligible for a booster shot should make appointments to receive one, and he said mixing and matching types of vaccines for the third dose is encouraged.

”Our numbers are improving, but it’s up to all of us to do what we can to defeat COVID,” Jenkins said. “Continue to make those smart choices, even as our numbers decline: shop curbside pickup or online, eat on the patio and avoid large maskless crowds.”

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Of the new cases, 2,274 were confirmed and 951 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s overall case total to 402,626, including 341,107 confirmed and 61,519 probable. The death toll is 4,946.

The average number of new daily cases in the county for the last two weeks is 502. For the previous 14-day period, the average was 811.

The county reported that 346 people were hospitalized with the virus.

According to the state, 1,596,516 people in Dallas County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 1,376,597 — 63.1% of the county’s population 12 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Texas

The state reported 31,019 more cases in the past week, including 23,285 confirmed cases and 7,734 probable cases.

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The state also reported 1,242 COVID-19 deaths over the past week, raising its toll to 69,089.

The state’s case total is now 4,196,041, including 3,492,166 confirmed and 703,875 probable.

There are a total of 4,078 hospitalizations in the state, including 1,235 in North Texas.

According to the state, 17,661,570 people in Texas have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 15,344,238 — 63.8% of the state’s population 12 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Tarrant County

Tarrant County reported 98 deaths and 2,847 cases in the past week.

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Of the new cases, 2,290 were confirmed and 557 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s case total to 360,313, including 298,663 confirmed and 61,650 probable. The death toll is 4,658.

The county reported that 384 people were hospitalized with the virus.

According to the state, 1,186,815 people in Tarrant County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 1,053,742 — 60.6% of the county’s population 12 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Collin County

The state added 34 deaths and 984 cases to Collin County’s totals in the past week.

Of the new cases, 711 were confirmed and 273 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s case total to 128,707, including 104,709 confirmed and 23,998 probable. The death toll is 1,115.

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The county reported that 158 people were hospitalized with the virus.

According to the state, 690,700 people in Collin County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 619,435 — 71.6% of the county’s population 12 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Denton County

Denton County reported three deaths and 1,416 cases in the past week.

The numbers bring the county’s case total to 106,853, including 77,470 confirmed and 29,383 probable. The death toll is 703.

The county reported that 70 people were hospitalized with the virus.

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According to the state, 542,342 people in Denton County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 492,129 — 65.6% of the county’s population 12 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Other counties

The Texas Department of State Health Services has taken over reporting for these other North Texas counties. In some counties, new data may not be reported every day.

The latest numbers are:

  • Rockwall County: 17,519 cases (13,575 confirmed and 3,944 probable), 218 deaths.
  • Kaufman County: 23,800 cases (19,042 confirmed and 4,758 probable), 414 deaths.
  • Ellis County: 33,241 cases (26,371 confirmed and 6,870probable), 455 deaths.
  • Johnson County: 28,219 cases (22,777 confirmed and 5,442 probable), 533 deaths.

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