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Whitmer signs order expediting distribution of vaccines for Michigan youth

The directive requires the State of Michigan to routinely report the number of children ages 5 to 11 who received a vaccine dose.
FILE - In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer...
FILE - In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her virtual State of the State address the state, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 in Lansing, Mich. Whitmer on Wednesday, Sept. 29 will deem some Republican-backed budget provisions unconstitutional attempts to restrict COVID-19 public health measures but allow language limiting potential state and municipal vaccination requirements. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)(AP)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Tuesday Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive to state departments and agencies to speed up the ordering and distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccinations to protect Michiganders between the ages of 5 and 11 years old and ensure that students can continue in-person learning in a safe environment.

“Today, we’re taking action to keep our kids safe from COVID-19,” said Gov. Whitmer. “The Michigan-made Pfizer vaccine is safe, effective, free, and expected to be approved for Michiganders between 5 and 11 years old. This is a game-changer for our kids that will protect them as they continue to learn in-person in the classroom this school year, participate in extracurricular activities, or see friends and family this holiday season.”

On Oct. 26, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) meet to debate emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children. After the meeting, the VRBPAC will issue their recommendation to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is scheduled to meet Nov. 2-3 to review data and recommendations. ACIP is anticipated to issue a recommendation, which will then go to the CDC for final approval of the emergency use.

Based on data provided by Pfizer, the vaccine was shown to be nearly 91% effective during the trial at preventing the symptomatic disease from COVID-19 in the age group.

The executive directive hastens the administration of pediatric vaccinations by:

  • Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to take all appropriate action to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is available to all children in Michigan as soon as they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • Encouraging all pediatric vaccination providers to enroll as COVID-19 vaccine providers, including by educating pediatricians and family practice providers about eligibility, barriers to access, and the importance of pediatric vaccination.
  • Promoting vaccination in settings that facilitate ease of access, including by working with child and adolescent health centers serving grades K-12, federally qualified health centers, pharmacies, local health departments, and community clinics.
  • Promoting equity in accessibility of pediatric vaccination, considering barriers to access presented by geography, income, age, race, ethnicity, primary language, or disability status.

Additionally, the directive requires the State of Michigan to routinely report the proportion of children ages 5 to 11 who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. So far, nearly 69% of Michiganders 16 years or older and 66.9% of Michiganders 12 years or older have received at least their first dose of one of the three vaccines.

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