Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Begins In Far West Texas

The rollout of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 has begun, and healthcare providers are arranging clinics and planning for vaccine distribution across Far West Texas. One of those providers is Preventative Care Health Services and the group’s CEO Linda Molinar recently spoke to Marfa Public Radio about the clinic’s plans.

The administrative offices of Preventative Care Health Services in Alpine, Texas, pictured in January 2021. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

By Bárbara Anguiano

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children in late October, and while the vaccines target the same disease, children and adult vaccination rollouts require different efforts.

Interview Highlights

Molinar says coordination between the community and PCHS is the most effective way the clinics she oversees will be able to deliver the vaccines quickly and efficiently. And because children will receive this round of vaccines, that means working closely with schools.

“We’re at the mercy of the state and even the state sometimes is at the mercy of, you know, the people that make the decisions where vaccines go,” says Molinar. “We’re very lucky that all three communities got vaccines. And I can tell you that we have received a lot of calls from people asking us for them, immediately trying to get their kids vaccinated.”

PCHS clinics began distributions with about 100 vaccines per clinic. Molinar says additional doses for clinics were requested from the Texas Department of State Health Services, but it’s still unclear how many doses and when PCHS will receive them.

“I know for the Pfizer, one of the concerns we had, because it did have a second dose, was, do we give all 100 doses we have? Or just give 50? So you know, it’s always one of those things that we feel like, we don’t know enough information, and we’re just trusting the system, which is our state.”

Molinar says parents should seek professional medical advice if they’re still hesitant to vaccinate their children. She says parents can seek out reliable resources like the CDC website. 

“Talk to your provider, talk to your pediatrician, they’re keeping up with all of this in detail there. You know, if there’s reactions, if there are no reactions. We’re not strangers to vaccination.”

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