Update on COVID-19 Vaccine for Children

Vaccine information is changing rapidly and starting tomorrow, January 14th, NJ will open up its vaccine clinics to anyone over the age of 65 and anyone 16 years and older with certain medical conditions. At this time, we still do not have vaccine in our office and we are unfortunately unable to help with the scheduling process.  We are hopeful this will change soon. These medical conditions include:

– Cancer
– Chronic kidney disease
– COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
– Down Syndrome
– Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
– Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
– Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
– Sickle cell disease
– Smoking
– Type 2 diabetes mellitus

If your child is 16 years or older and has any of these medical conditions, they are eligible to be vaccinated. Please visit https://covid19.nj.gov for full information and to pre-register. For a list of locations offering vaccines in New Jersey, please visit https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients

The Moderna vaccine is approved for 18 years and older and the Pfizer vaccine can be given to people 16 years and older. If your child qualifies for vaccination and is 16 or 17 years old, you will need to find a location that has the Pfizer vaccine. Unfortunately, that information is not provided on the website and you will need to call around. Appointments can be scheduled starting tomorrow directly with the vaccine site.

When PNP is either offering the vaccine or aware of exact locations for patients 16 or older to receive this vaccine, we will post all of this information so patients who can get the vaccine will be able to do so.

Most experts believe a COVID-19 vaccine for children older than 12 years old will not be approved by the start of the academic year 2021-2022, even with the accelerated vaccine tract. A COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 12 years of age will take an even longer time to be approved given that these trials have not yet been started. For more detailed information about the COVID-19 vaccine for children, please refer to PNP’s facebook post on the vaccine from November 19, 2020

Once there is a vaccine approved for children, PNP will work hard to obtain as many vaccines as possible in order to offer the vaccine to all of our patients who qualify. At this point in time, we do not know when we will get it. As soon as we have an update on the status of a children’s COVID vaccine, we will email and post this important information as soon as possible.

For all PNP parents and patients who are 18 years old or older, we encourage you to pre-register for the vaccine through the State’s website at: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine. It is New Jersey’s goal to vaccinate 70 % of the adult population (4.7 million people) over the next six months. Currently, the state has vaccines available to all persons who classify in Phase 1A (persons serving in health care settings, as well as residents and staff members of long-term congregate settings) and Phase 1B (law enforcement, fire professionals and first responders) and all individuals deemed high risk (over 65 and over 16 with certain medical conditions). The next phase of individuals to get priority in vaccination are additional front line essential workers. If you are not a Phase 1A or Phase 1B candidate, the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System will contact you when a vaccine is available after you pre-register on the vaccine portal.

So far, New Jersey has received 506,000 COVID vaccines. PNP is proud that most of our staff and all of our physicians, for whom it was medically acceptable, have received the COVID-19 vaccine. We are grateful for the vaccine as it will keep us safe as we continue to serve the children in our community. It is critical to stress that even though we are vaccinated, we are all still practicing social distancing, excellent hand hygiene, masking and continuing the same pandemic protocols to keep everyone safe. Until the vast majority of people have received the vaccine and we can acquire herd immunity as a community, it is imperative we all continue to follow strict COVID protocols to safeguard the people not yet vaccinated (especially the children).