WAVERLY- As Ohioans went to the polls on Tuesday, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention made an announcement expanding the age range for those can receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

With the CDC recommendation for those ages 5-11 to be vaccinated, the Pike County General Health District began its pediatric vaccination effort on Wednesday with Lincoln Boyer and Kaden Buskirk receiving the first does.

Prior to the CDC recommendation, the Ohio Department of Health gave vaccine providers across the state the go-ahead to start vaccinating the new age demographic immediately following the recommendation.

“Today is a day that many children and numerous adults — parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, pediatricians, teachers, and coaches — have long awaited,” said ODH Director Bruce Vanderhoff. “The authorization of this COVID-19 vaccine for younger Ohioans is yet another crucial turning point in this pandemic, allowing us to better protect young children from severe complications from COVID-19.”

While COVID-19 has proven to be more deadly for adults, young people can still be hospitalized or even die from the virus. As of Nov. 1, more than 2,000 Ohio children under 18 had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 15 had died.

The opening of the vaccine to the age group mostly in elementary school will lead to an increase in the ages 0-19 group, which is the lowest in Pike County and state overall. The vaccine is now available to approximately 94% of Ohioans, according to the ODH.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine pediatric formulation is a smaller 10 microgram dose compared with the dose of 30 micrograms used in adults and adolescents 12 and older. As of Thursday, 12.4% of Pike County youth had started the vaccination process compared to 19.1% of Ohioans 19 and younger.

Those wishing to receive a booster shot — a third Pfizer or Moderna dose, or second Johnson and Johnson dose- can do so at the PCGHD office on 116 S. Market St. in Waverly.

According to the CDC, booster shots are available to the following groups:

  • 65 years and older, 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions, or 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot at least six months after completing the primary series.
  • People who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and are 18 years and older should receive a booster shot at least two months after receiving their primary vaccine dose.

PCGHD also announced the 71st COVID-19 related death on Wednesday. The individual was a male in his 50s and was the first death reported by the district in three weeks.

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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