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Santa Cruz County Office of Education offers look into next vaccination effort – Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ — With health experts deliberating the initial Pfizer-BioNTech data from clinical studies involving children aged 5 to 11, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education is already beginning to meet with its previous vaccination partner — Inspire Diagnostics — to discuss logistics around immunizing some of the region’s smallest students.

SCCOE Communications and Public Relations Officer Nick Ibarra said late Tuesday that the organization plans to offer vaccine clinics on a rotating basis at elementary schools across the county in addition to its three school community testing sites. Those existing sites are at the Office of Education’s Annex parking lot in Santa Cruz, at Cabrillo College’s Parking Lot K in Aptos and at the PVUSD District Office parking lot in Watsonville.

“Inspire Diagnostics will continue to be our partner when it comes to administering the vaccines, and Inspire is handling the logistics of acquiring the doses,” Ibarra said. “If the Emergency Use Authorization moves forward as anticipated, we expect these clinics will begin the first week of November. Our goal is that at least 40% of Santa Cruz County’s 5- to 11-year-olds would be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of this year.”

The Food and Drug Administration announced at the beginning of the month that it anticipated Pfizer’s request for an amendment to its emergency use authorization to include the younger age group and scheduled an advisory committee meeting for Oct. 26 to inform the agency’s decision-making.

According to a report given to local medical workers by the Santa Cruz health team this week, the Oct. 26 date stands for review. Nurses and doctors were told that in order to prepare to vaccinate the more than 20,000 children who could become eligible for vaccination around Halloween, doses of a lesser strength than the adult vaccine can be ordered by shot distributors starting this week.

“We have a meeting with them (Wednesday) and I should be able to provide more info on the status of their vaccine orders (then),” Ibarra said of communications with Inspire Diagnostics Tuesday.

Wednesday afternoon, Ibarra confirmed that Inspire Diagnostics is in the process of procuring 4,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses for the student clinics.

“More will be ordered based on demand,” he said.

As doses are ordered, health professionals will be prepped with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Pediatric Planning Guide” issued last week. The planning guide goes over child-specific instructions for vaccination, such as how much vaccine is expected to be needed (enough for America’s 28 million children in the seven-year age window) and how long vaccine can be stored (for six hours once opened).

Families can learn more about the local budding vaccination plans through two town halls SCCOE is planning for next week. With one in English and one in Spanish, anyone concerned about vaccinating their child can ask questions and get them answered by superintendents and pediatricians.

Registration information for the town halls went live Wednesday at

This content was originally published here.

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