Public Health Madison and Dane County began administering pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages five through 11 from Nov. 9 at the Alliant Energy Center.

The appointments followed the Oct. 29 FDA authorization for the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on children ages five to 11 years old. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has followed the CDC recommendation for children ages five to 11 to receive a vaccine, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health website.

In a recent news release, PHMDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Deputy Sarah Hughes said they are “thrilled” to be able to provide protection to children against the virus so that “kids can get back to doing the things they love while staying safe and healthy.”

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PHMDC gave 1,829 Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses to children ages five to 11 at the Alliant Energy Center from Nov. 9 through Nov. 13, according to an email statement from PHMDC spokesperson Sarah Mattes. 

The Alliant Energy Center is the only public health vaccination location currently offering appointments for ages five through 11. Appointments are required for this age group.

“When new groups become eligible, there is high demand, so we are currently requiring appointments to make sure that we have staff capacity and vaccine supply,” Mattes said.

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The capacity of the Alliant Energy Center clinic expanded from approximately 200 booster doses per day to an additional 400 pediatric doses per day starting Nov. 9. The overall capacity is at about 600 doses per day.

As of the week of Nov. 15, this capacity expanded to 500 appointments available for five- to 11-year-old children each day the clinic is open, in addition to regular dose and booster dose appointments. The help of staff contracted through the Wisconsin DHS made the increase possible, according to Mattes.

“When we moved into the Arena space at AEC, we knew the space could support an increase in vaccine delivery and had plans to scale-up operations once the CDC authorized vaccines for 5 to 11-year-olds,” Mattes said.

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The pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is administered in a two-dose series three weeks apart and uses a third of the dose used for individuals 12 years of age and older, according to the FDA. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the first and only vaccine currently available for the five to 11 age group.

“We have been planning for this moment for months, first getting the Arena clinic off the ground to accommodate new approvals for booster doses and setting the stage for our 5-11-year-olds to be able to have the space they need to get vaccinated,” Hughes said.