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Minnesota is wasting no time in getting the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5-11 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved Pfizer shots for the age group on Tuesday. 

Gov. Tim Walz announced Tuesday that Minnesota will begin vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds immediately. The state is aiming to expedite the process of finding places to vaccinate children by creating a webpage – mn.gov/vaxforkids – specifically to help parents and guardians fine vaccine locations/appointments and answer any questions. 

The state says vials of the two-dose Pfizer regimen, which is about one-third the strength of the vaccine provided to adults, will be in the hands of providers across the state by this weekend. 

“Getting our children vaccinated will help our kids be kids again,” said Walz in a statement. “Now that the vaccine is approved for kids ages 5-11, Minnesota is ready to administer these shots quickly, efficiently, and equitably. I encourage families to make a plan to get their child vaccinated and help keep them safe.”

Many providers are already accepting appointments. You can search for appointments on Minnesota’s Find Vaccine Locations map, through Vaccines.gov or simply by calling your clinic to see if they are offering the vaccine. 

More than 500,000 kids fall into the 5-11 age group in Minnesota, and their inclusion means that around 94% of the state's more than 5.6 million residents are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“We want parents to feel confident that the vaccine is safe and will help protect their children from the severe effects of COVID-19. Having questions is normal. Reach out to your family’s health care provider or seek out information from trusted sources so you are ready to get your child vaccinated when they are eligible," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. 

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The two-dose Pfizer regiment should be receive three weeks apart. It was 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and clinical trials also revealed that there were no reports of rare side effects, like myocarditis, pericarditis and anaphylaxis. 

"Common, mild side effects were found less in the 5-11 year-olds in the trial compared to 16-25 year-olds," the new website explains, adding: "Your child may have some side effects after vaccination, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. It is OK if they do not have side effects. In fact, data is showing that side effects are less common in children age 5-11 years old compared to older children/adults."

The delta variant of the coronavirus has fueled a spike in children becoming sick with COVID-19 disease. According to the state, there were more than 45,000 pediatric cases – including more than 300 children hospitalized – between July 1 and Oct. 26 this year. 

There have been two deaths from COVID-19 among school age children throughout the pandemic.

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