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North Carolina health officials roll out plans to vaccinate young children against COVID-19

The federal government is sending North Carolina 124,500 doses of the Pfizer C OVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. State health officials will divide those initial doses among 232 health departments and pediatricians across the state. Mecklenburg County Public Health is expected to have the largest initial allocation at 13,500 doses.

But health care providers cannot start administering the shots until the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve the Pfizer vaccine for use in young children. They are expected to do so in the coming weeks.

“Pending FDA and CDC action, pediatric vaccination will likely begin shortly after Nov. 3,” North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services said in a Tuesday memo to health care providers.

The state added that it expects high demand in the first few weeks of vaccine availability for young children.

Health care providers in counties surrounding Mecklenburg, including Cabarrus, Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union, are also expected to receive at least 300 pediatric doses during the initial wave of the rollout.

Anyone 12 and older is currently able to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people 18 and older.

See the allocations for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine for children below:

Copyright 2021 WFAE

Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literture and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, Claire likes listening to podcasts and trying out new recipes.