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Joint Statement from California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón

Date: November 3, 2021

Number: NR21-320


SACRAMENTO – Today, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, and Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, issued a joint statement on the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup's recommendation to administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.    


"Vaccines are how we end this pandemic, and the ability to vaccinate more children who have remained vulnerable to COVID-19 strengthens our fight against this deadly virus. Californians ages 5-11 can now get the same robust protection that has helped save countless lives. The vaccine has been administered safely to millions of people ages 12 and up, and federal and state medical experts agree that the clinical trials have been rigorous in demonstrating that the vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5-11. Last year's winter surge was devastating in our state, and it is critically important that all eligible Californians supercharge their protection against COVID-19 ahead of the winter months. By getting more family members including children ages 5-11 vaccinated, we can celebrate the holidays safely and help avoid preventable hospitalizations and deaths."   


California will begin vaccinating children ages 5-11 today with 500 organizations across the state receiving their first shipments through next Monday. The state was allocated 1.2 million pediatric doses from the federal government with adequate supply to vaccinate all newly eligible Californians becoming available in the coming weeks. The state has more than 4,000 locations ready to vaccinate children ages 5-11 as supply increases and is leveraging existing infrastructure and partnerships used to administer vaccines to teens and young adults. This includes working closely with medical providers, local health departments, schools, community partners and others to administer vaccines safely and equitably through mobile clinics and vaccine pop-ups in the hardest-hit communities across the state.     


Parents are encouraged to call their child's health care provider to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Parents can also visit or call the hotline at 833-422-4255 beginning tomorrow to find a nearby vaccination site. The COVID-19 vaccine is free for all Californians regardless o f insurance and immigration status. All Californians are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated or complete their vaccination series, get a booster when eligible, and get a flu vaccine, which can be administered at the same time.  

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