Mass Vaccination of 5-11 Year Olds Will Look Much Different for LA County

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Mass Vaccination of 5-11 Year Olds Will Look Much Different for LA County

Los Angeles County health officials expect to have child vaccines for hundreds of thousands of the region's 5 to 11 year olds ready in the first few days of November.

On Tuesday a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine be approved for children via emergency-use authorization, paving the way for regulators to expand access to the vaccine.

The FDA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will consider it in the coming days, but they are widely expected to approve the vaccine, opening the door for elementary age children to receive the vaccination.

But, unlike previous efforts to inoculate adults from COVID at pop-up clinics like the massive Dodger Stadium one, the county expects the bulk of vaccinations to be handed out at local pharmacies, doctor's offices, community clinics and schools.

The Biden administration rolled out a plan earlier this month recommending health officials offer vaccines in locations without the long lines experienced in previous vaccination campaigns to avoid scaring young children. It also encourages settings where parents can speak with a provider about their concerns.

The county has already provided 800 schools with on-site vaccination clinics, and plans on sending out mobile clinics in areas like San Fernando Valley and South L.A. where health care facilities and pharmacies are sparse.

"Many parents have requested that we offer vaccines to children and teens at schools because these are familiar and trusted places," said L.A. County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer. "School vaccination clinics have already been an important part of our community vaccination strategy."

Ferrer said the county has pre-ordered 96,000 of the Pfizer vaccines for children expected to arrive by early November. There are about 900,000 eligible children. About 6% of the COVID-19 cases in L.A. are children 5 to 11, according to county health data through Oct. 25.

California mandated vaccinations for children from kindergarten to twelfth grade in early October. Those mandates are contingent on regulators approving the vaccine.

But, the California Department of Public Health has already said it will establish guidelines pending guidance from vaccine partners like the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children, while historically not a high risk for catching the coronavirus, are still a key demographic for the county to vaccinate. That's because children spend the bulk of their day at school where they can come in contact with other unvaccinated kids, making them susceptible to catching and spreading the coronavirus.

But some parents have been reluctant to vaccinate their older children who became eligible in September. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found roughly one-third of parents across the country will want to get their young child vaccinated immediately, while one-third said they will "wait and see" and the last third said they will only vaccinate their child if required.

"When it comes to little kids there is a little bit more of the wait-and-see mentality," said public health expert from USC Rita Burke.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


How Real-Time Data Is Helping Physicians Track Their Patients, One Heartbeat at a Time

S.C. Stuart
S.C. Stuart is a foreign correspondent (ELLE China, Esquire Latin America), Contributing Writer at Ziff Davis PCMag, and consults as a futurist for Hollywood Studios. Previously, S.C. was the head of digital at Hearst Magazines International while serving as a Non-Executive Director, UK Trade & Investment (US) and Digital Advisor at The Smithsonian.
How Real-Time Data Is Helping Physicians Track Their Patients, One Heartbeat at a Time

Are you a human node on a health-based digital network?

According to research from Insider Intelligence, the U.S. smart wearable user market is poised to grow 25.5% in 2023. Which is to say, there are an increasing number of Angelenos walking around this city whose vital signs can be tracked day and night via their doctor's digital device. If you've signed up to a health-based portal via a workplace insurance scheme, or through a primary care provider's portal which utilizes Google Fit, you’re one of them.

Do you know your baseline health status and resting heartbeat? Can you track your pulse, and take your own blood pressure? Have you received genetic counseling based on the sequencing of your genome? Do you avoid dairy because it bloats, or because you know you possess the variant that indicates lactose intolerance?

Read moreShow less

Who Will Win LA's E-scooter Wars?

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Who Will Win LA's E-scooter Wars?
Evan Xie

Los Angeles — it’s not just beautiful weather, traffic and the Hollywood Walk of Fame — it’s also the largest shared micromobility market in the U.S. with six operators permitted to deploy up to 6,000 vehicles each.

And despite the open market policy, the competition shows no signs of slowing down.

Read moreShow less

March Capital Raises $650 Million Fund to Invest in AI Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

March Capital Raises $650 Million Fund to Invest in AI Startups
March Capital founder Jamie Montgomery. Illustration by Dilara Mundy.

Santa Monica-based venture outfit March Capital announced Feb. 3 that it raised its largest fund to date, a $650 million investment vehicle that will be used to back up to 15 startups focused on delivering new uses of artificial intelligence.

Read moreShow less