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Health systems hope to administer vaccines to elementary-age children this week

Children in Hampton Roads could be rolling up their sleeves as early as Thursday.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages five to 11 Tuesday night, an announcement many health leaders and facilities have been waiting for.

Cindy Williams, the vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Riverside Health System, said they've been watching this since the vaccine was approved for those 12 to 15.

Chief Deputy Commissioner Dr. Parham Jaberi said those vaccines for children will be available this week.

"We are ready and mobilized to be able to provide these vaccines as of Thursday," he said.

Dr. Jaberi said the Norfolk Health Department is getting those doses ready to roll out to young children. It will help prevent another group of people from serious illness or death due to COVID-19.

It could also mean a jump in numbers at the Military Circle Mall vaccination clinic.

"We were setting up for this increased capacity should the pediatric vaccine be approved," Dr. Jaberi.

On the peninsula, Riverside Health System is waiting for pediatric doses to arrive.

"We have received some of our vaccine," Williams said. "We expect the rest of our prepositioning order to show up today. We will be prepared to start scheduling appointments as early as tomorrow.

Williams also anticipates vaccination numbers to rise and ultimately watch COVID-19 cases drop.

"One of the outcomes of this is that if parents have not yet been vaccinated or grandparents when they bring their child in to get immunization, they would also consider getting vaccinated if they haven't already done that," she said.

For the latest on COVID-19 in Virginia and North Carolina, follow 13News Now's Live Updates.

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