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CalHHS Secretary Advocates Covid Vaccination for Children Ages 5 to 11

Christian Emmer
CEBI at Copenhagen University
An individual receiving a vaccination in their arm.

The Secretary of California's Department of Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) held a Q&A session earlier this week to advocate for Covid-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11.

The event came as just last week the FDA approved the emergency use of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for the age group.

California Health & Human Services Agency
Official portrait of Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency.

Dr. Mark Ghaly is a pediatrician and Secretary for CalHHS. He said, "The trials that were done to make sure that this vaccine is safe and effective at this dose were robust. They came together in rapid fashion in order to address this important pandemic, recognizing that vaccines are the way through the pandemic."

Ghaly added that the pediatric dose of the vaccine is 1/3 of the dose that adults receive. He said that California has lost over 30 young people to Covid and said any additional death is unacceptable if it's preventable.

"We've had hundreds of thousands of cases among young people, 60,000 young people, 5 to 11 have been hospitalized in our nation, and we've lost more kids to Covid than we do to other vaccine-preventable diseases in our nation," said Ghaly.

Many parents who oppose the vaccine have raised concern over Myocarditis, which causes inflammation in the heart. It has been a known side-effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

Ghaly addressed the issue. "Even though the size of the trial group was only about 4,000, they didn't see any cases of Myocarditis or Pericarditis. That said, they have seen it in older teenagers, and so we take that very seriously."

He added that very few individuals had experienced significant side effects from the vaccine. "And the other good news is that even when those do occur, they often resolve with minimal intervention or self-resolve."

Riverside and San Bernardino County have already started administering vaccines for the age group, but only at specific sites. You can find that information on their respective sites.

Riverside County: www.rivcoph.org/covid-19-vaccine
San Bernardino County: wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/programs/clinics/immunization/

Jonathan Linden is a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and had previously interned for the station in the Spring of 2019. Outside of KVCR, Jonathan also interned for KALW in San Francisco, KFI in Burbank, and Radio HCJB in Quito, Ecuador.