WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — Contra Costa County health officials announced Monday they were expecting the delivery of about 20,000 doses of the pediatric version of the Pfizer COVID vaccine this week as they prepare to administer shots to school children ages 5-11.

They said other healthcare providers and pharmacies in the county were also stocking up and getting ready.

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“I know a lot of parents have been waiting a long time to be able to get their younger kids vaccinated,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “We’re almost there. If everything goes right, parents will be able to get their children fully vaccinated before the winter holidays.”

The timing of when the vaccine becomes available to younger children depends on a three-step federal and state review process.

The Food & Drug Administration has already approved the emergency use for the vaccine in children ages 5-11. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention was expected to make its decision this week.

The final step will be approval from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

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Health officials said parents should check with their child’s regular healthcare provider or local pharmacies about availability. CCHS expects to begin offering the pediatric vaccine by Nov. 6 at county-run vaccination clinics.

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, which is one-third the dosage given to teens and adults, will come in different vials and packaging than the adult version.

Like with adults, children ages 5-11 still must get two shots at least three weeks apart to get the maximum protection of the vaccine, which was shown to have a 90.7% efficacy rate in clinical trials among this age group.

Initial demand for the pediatric vaccine is expected to be high as eager parents seek protection for their children. There are an estimated 92,000 county residents between the ages of 5 and 11.

Contra Costa County already has a high vaccination rate among its eligible residents, including among those ages 12-15, which is currently the youngest age group eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. About 87% of residents ages 12-15 have received at least one dose of vaccine.

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More information on receiving the COVID vaccine and vaccine boosters in Contra Costa County is available on the Contra Costa Health Services website.