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Young Children Are Lining Up for Next Wave of Covid Vaccines

Texas Children’s main hospital, its two community hospitals and a variety of other sites are now planning to administer about 2,000 pediatric shots a day, officials said. So far, Mr. Monroe said, the interest has been at least double what the hospital system saw after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became available to adolescents.

He attributed that to greater comfort with the vaccine, fear that the Delta variant posed a bigger threat to younger children, the approaching holidays and the hospital’s effort to educate parents at town halls and other venues about the vaccine’s benefits.

Not all states were as upbeat about the rollout’s prospects.

In Arkansas, only a little more than 40 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 15 have been fully vaccinated, said Dr. Jose Romero, the state’s top health official. And he said that while he knew that pediatricians were “very anxious to have it in their offices,” he hoped the uptake among younger children would be stronger than what the state had seen with older ones.

Dr. Lisa Gwynn, the president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who runs a mobile vaccination program for the University of Miami health system, said the state’s rollout might be “a little bumpy,” as it was for adolescents.

“Unfortunately,” she said, “our state doesn’t have a very well-oiled machine.”

Some logistics have improved, she said: Pediatricians are now able to order 300 shots at a time, rather than the previous and less flexible minimum of 1,100. But having sufficient refrigeration and staff to administer the vaccines remains a concern, she said, especially for smaller offices.

Dr. Robin Straus said she had only one doctor on duty at a time at her small Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., practice, and had been directing families to local children’s hospitals for vaccinations.

She registered with the local office of the Florida Department of Health to receive a shipment of doses for younger children, she said, but her office is short-staffed, she does not allow patients in the waiting room because of Covid protocols and she does not want to keep children and their parents waiting outside for long periods.

“Right now, we’re telling our patients we’re working on it,” she said.

Noah Weiland, Patricia Mazzei and Jacey Fortin contributed reporting.

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