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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Elizabeth Sides is so eager to get her three children — ages 5, 8 and 10 — vaccinated that she looked into enrolling her youngest in a clinical trial. Now, facing likely delays in scheduling shots, she’s considering crossing state lines if allowed.
“I’ll go to a different state,” she said. “I’m going to go wherever my kids can get it first.”
The Food and Drug Administration today authorized kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. If regulators agree, shots could begin as early as late next week.
New Hampshire officials said Wednesday they had ordered 15,000 initial doses for 97,000 children in that age group, but have since clarified that they expect to have 30,000 doses ready to deliver to hospitals, pharmacies and pediatricians when the vaccine is fully approved.
But school-based clinics will be delayed by at least a few weeks after the Executive Council initially rejected federal funds to set them up. The Republican-led council that approves state contracts has since accepted money from a different pot of federal funds, but still must approve individual contracts with public health networks for the clinics.
“It was really disappointing when I saw the news about New Hampshire,” said Sides, who lives in Hopkinton. “For me, it’s like, ‘C’mon, do your job.’ “
Garth McKinney, superintendent of Nashua schools, said he, like most school administrators, was concerned about the delay given that the rate of virus transmission remains substantial and access to the vaccine has varied among families.
“The added funding would have expedited the process but, nevertheless, we stand ready to do all we can to support vaccination efforts among our families’ elementary-aged children once we have the approval,” he said.
About 500 students ages 12 and up were vaccinated at a clinic at Nashua High School South in May, he said, and the district plans to host another one as soon as possible.
“Public health and our school nurses tell us clinics are planned, ready to go, and awaiting state approval,” he said.
In Hopkinton, Sides said her family has not been “living in fear” but has been cautious and likely will remain so even after her children are vaccinated. But that milestone “will just allow us to take that huge sigh of relief,” she said.
“I just hope New Hampshire takes this as seriously as so many of the parents that live here do,” she said.