South Dakota ready to inoculate state's young people


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Health officials in South Dakota say they're prepared to handle the vaccination of the state's young people as federal regulators weigh the safety and effectiveness of giving COVID-19 shots to children ages 5 to 11.

The White House detailed plans Wednesday for the Pfizer shot to be given to elementary school youngsters with federal authorization expected in a matter of weeks.

Sanford Health chief physician, Dr. Jeremy Cauwels, says the health care provider has been able to maintain a vaccine supply in all of its clinics, so when approval is given, they will be ready, KSFY-TV reported.

“I’m looking forward to the possibility of partnering with schools or other agencies around town to vaccinate more kids if that’s helpful, but I think we will be able to handle a good bit of the numbers simply by making sure they know where our local clinics are and how to get to them,” said Cauwels.

Roughly 28 million children nationwide will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine at their pediatrician’s office, local pharmacy and possibly even their school.

Sioux Falls public health director, Dr. Charles Chima, says making the vaccine available to more people is good for everyone.

“It will be a big deal because we estimate if you look at the two-county area Minnehaha and Lincoln County kids aged 5-11 probably make up about close to 10% of the population,” said Chima.

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