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Arkansas still waiting for next shipment of kids' covid-19 vaccine

3,652 Arkansas children have received shot in latest tally by Jeannie Roberts | November 10, 2021 at 7:08 a.m.
Sadie Hudson, 10, winces in anticipation of getting her Covid-19 vaccine from physician assistant Janet Rader (right) on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the UAMS Vaccine Clinic in Little Rock. After getting the shot Hudson said, "It didn't really hurt at all." (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

The Arkansas Department of Health is still waiting on a shipment of pediatric covid-19 vaccine before doses can be distributed to the remaining providers in the state, department spokeswoman Danyelle McNeill said Tuesday.

The state was expecting to receive about 95,100 kid-sized doses last week, but 28,500 doses still have not been delivered.

Of the pediatric vaccine already received, 38,100 doses went to the local health units around the state and the remaining 28,500 was distributed to the federal Vaccines for Children Program participants, which include some pharmacies and the majority of the state's pediatric clinics.

"The vaccine will be redistributed to non-VFC providers that are enrolled in the covid-19 vaccination program once the shipments of pediatric covid-19 vaccine are received by [the Health Department]," McNeill said.

At least 3,652 Arkansas children ages 5-11 have received the covid-19 vaccine since Nov. 3 after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was given the go-ahead by federal authorities, McNeill said.

That means that about 1.3% of the state's estimated 271,000 children ages 5-11 years have been vaccinated.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

There is often a lag in reporting and the actual number of doses administered for any given day is likely higher, McNeill said. The demand in the state for the pediatric vaccine by that age group varies by each county, McNeill said.

"But we are pleased with the demand overall," she said. "Vaccination providers have up to two days (48 hours) to report the doses they administer, so we'll have a better idea what the uptake has been in the next few days."

GIVING THE VACCINE

There are plenty of pediatric vaccine doses in the state for the children of Arkansas, Nicki Hilliard, director of professional affairs at the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, said.

In addition to the doses being distributed by the Health Department, many pharmacies in the state got them directly through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.

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"Some pharmacies have to pick it up from the local health units," Hilliard said. "Some got it immediately and others had to wait. By the end of the week, most will have access to the vaccine."

The demand for the kid-sized doses has been strong during the first wave, Hilliard said.

"It has been a good uptake. We would love to see that continue," she said.

All the local health units are offering the pediatric shot, while other providers are holding vaccine clinics and have appointments available with pediatricians.

"Parents should check with the providers where they got their vaccine," Hilliard said.

Locations administering the vaccine are also listed on the website www.vaccine.gov.

"Not all the providers are on there yet," Hilliard said. "Call your provider to make sure."

Parents can also get their children updated on other vaccines as well as get the flu shot at the same time they're receiving the covid-19 vaccine, Hilliard said.

The providers participating in the VFC program can get reimbursed for those other vaccines as well.

"Studies are showing that these [covid-19] vaccines are safe and effective in this age group," Hilliard said. "We have seen an increase in hospitalizations in children, especially with the delta variant. We want to keep them safe."

PEDIATRIC NUMBERS

There have been 99,487 Arkansas children from birth to 18 years old who were diagnosed with covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to the state Health Department.

[VACCINE INFO: See the latest information on covid-19 vaccines in Arkansas » arkansasonline.com/vaccineinfo/]

Of those cases, 916 children in that age range were hospitalized with the covid-19 virus, with 117 admitted to the intensive care unit.

The state has reported 4,215 cases in children under a year old; 11,795 cases in children 1-4 years old; 32,000 cases in children 5-11 years old; and 51,477 cases in children 12-18 years old.

About 96.3% of patients ages 12-18 were unvaccinated. About 9.8% of the 12- to 18-year-old population in Arkansas is partially vaccinated, while 41.1% is fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, the state had 1,173 active cases among patients from newborn to 18 years old.

BY THE NUMBERS

The number of new and active covid-19 cases increased Tuesday, but hospitalizations in the state remained under 300.

Another 614 new coronavirus cases were added -- 473 more than the previous day, but 27 fewer than last Tuesday -- bringing the cumulative total to 517,000.

With new cases outpacing recoveries, the number of cases in the state that were considered active rose by 86, to 4,360 -- 130 fewer than reported the same day last week.

The number of patients hospitalized with covid-19 dipped by one, to 288, while the number of virus patients who were on ventilators dropped by two, to 63.

[How is the coronavirus affecting you in Arkansas? Tell us here » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus/form/]

There were 129 covid patients in intensive care units Tuesday, five more than the day before.

The state's death toll from the virus since March 2020, as tracked by the Health Department, rose by 14, to 8,522.

VACCINATION NUMBERS

The number of vaccine doses that providers reported having administered rose by 13,556, to 3,221,933, according to the state Department of Health.

"Our vaccine numbers have improved from last Tuesday," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. "While many of these doses are boosters, we need to continue to work to get first doses administered. Winter is approaching, and the vaccine is our best defense against the spread of COVID."

On Nov. 2, providers reported that 10,327 vaccine doses had been administered.

The number of individuals fully immunized increased by 2,268, to 1,411,708, or 55.2% of Arkansans age 12 and up.

The Health Department does not base its percentage of vaccinated individuals on the state's total population, but on the total population of those 12 and older, which the department said is 2,557,248.

As of Monday, 200,451 third vaccine doses had been administered.

[Interactive Arkansas map not showing up above? Click here to see it: arkansasonline.com/arvirus]

Of the new cases reported Monday, 86.5% involved unvaccinated people, while 88.5% of those hospitalized had not received the shots. About 78.6% of the active cases and 86.5% of the deaths involved unvaccinated people.

COUNTY CASES

Health Department data indicates that Pulaski County had the largest increase in total cases, with the count rising by 69.

The next highest increase was Benton County, 59, then Washington County, 49.

Print Headline: State still awaiting kid doses

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