Territorial Epidemiologist Dr Esther Ellis made the announcement on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, during the Bryan administration's weekly press briefing. She described it as “exciting news," and said the Pfizer vaccine will be offered as a “three-dose primary series” for children between six months and four years old, while the Moderna vaccine has been authorized for children from six months up to five years old and will be administered as a two-dose primary series.
“As of today, anyone six months or older can now get vaccinated,” Dr Ellis said.
The territory’s move follows the decision by the US Food and Drug Administration last Friday to amend the emergency use authorisation for these vaccines to include children as young as six months.
The agency said that “the known and potential benefits of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks in the pediatric populations authorized for use for each vaccine”.
The vaccines for children are available on Fridays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the Community Vaccination Center at the Charles Harwood Memorial Complex on St Croix, and on St Thomas at the Maternal and Child Health Clinic on Tuesdays and Fridays, during the same hours.
Parents and guardians must bring along I.D. for themselves and the birth certificate of the child they want vaccinated.
Children five to 17 years old are already receiving the two-dose primary series of Pfizer or Moderna.
Of the 184 active Covid-19 cases territory-wide, 134 were recorded on St. Croix, 49 on St Thomas and 1 on St John. Four people were hospitalised as of Tuesday (three on St Croix and one on St Thomas).
The schedule for Covid-19 testing on St Thomas has changed slightly and beginning today drive-thru testing at the Schneider Regional Medical Center will no longer be available on Wednesdays. Testing will continue to take place on the other weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
In addition, beginning Tuesday, June 21, the public must visit the community health clinic adjacent to the Schneider Regional Medical Center via the first-floor main lobby entrance.
Dr Ellis said the new schedule is being adopted so that the limited number of Department of Health personnel available may continue to provide routine once-a-week testing and vaccine services on the island of St John.