The Missoula City County Health Department told KGVO News on Friday that with the announcement that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, that vaccinations could begin in Missoula in early November.

Public Information Officer Hayley Devlin provides details.

“It's an exciting step,” said Devlin. “I wouldn't say we could put shots in arms quite yet. This does mean though, that the CDC can have a meeting next week, and it's expected that the CDC will then also approve shots in that age group. So sometime next week, kids can be getting shots in their arm around town.”

Devlin said she understands completely that parents and caregivers may be hesitant to get their younger children vaccinated.

“I get it,” she said. “I get that people want to be cautious about what they put in their children, however I would say that children getting COVID is a lot worse than the vaccine. The vaccine has been rigorously tested. It's safe; it's effective, and vaccines are going to be one of the best tools we have to get things back to normal for kids.”

Devlin said the county’s vaccination clinic in Southgate Mall is already gearing up to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11.

“I would say that the health department's vaccine clinic, when we do start taking child appointments, I want parents to know it's going to be through the same link they've been using to make appointments with us,” she said. “Right now we have a projected date of offering vaccines as soon as November 8th, pending the timelines for approval go as anticipated.”

Devlin said the clinic itself is being redecorated to be more ‘kid friendly’.

“As the clinic is getting ready, we've had child art put up at the clinic to make it feel like a friendlier environment,” she said. “We've got more comfortable chairs for children, and we've reconfigured the clinic a bit for children. We even have glow in the dark bracelets that support vaccines and stickers that they can get as they're leaving. So we're trying to make it a nice and comfortable experience. We even have an area where parents can take a keepsake photo with their child before they leave the clinic to remember getting vaccinated.”

Devlin said even if a large majority of Missoula school children get vaccinated, that masks would probably still be required, although that question can only be addressed by the MCPS School Board of Trustees.

 

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