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First round of kids ages 5-11 get COVID-19 vaccine in East Texas

NET Health received 300 child doses Tuesday and has opened free appointments for vaccinations.

TYLER, Texas — Carter Yates, 9, was among the first young children nationwide to get the CDC-backed Pfizer vaccine. 

“I think I'll feel good," Yates said before getting his shot. "I might have a sore arm. But I will be able to go back to school and see my friends.”

The All Saints Episcopal School student has been online learning since school started three months ago. Once he’s fully vaccinated, he’ll be reunited with his classmates.

On Tuesday, a CDC panel gave their official recommendation for the Pfizer vaccine to be given to children ages 5-11. However, the children's dosage is different from an adult's dosage. 

The children's doses arrived in orange labeled vials and the adult version is purple. Nurses on-site say children's vials also contain 10 doses while adults' contain 6. 

NET Heath CEO George Roberts says this final CDC approval has been a long time coming.

“The FDA has to approve the COVID vaccines, as well as the CDC has to approve the Immunization Practices," Roberts said.

The final step was getting approval from the Department of State Health Services. That approval came through late Tuesday night and NET Health was ready to go Wednesday morning.

Carter's mom, Allison Pollan, is excited for the last member of the family to be fully vaccinated.

"We get to see our family this Christmas and that to us is huge," Pollan said. "His great-grandma is 103 and we haven't felt safe being around her without all of us being fully vaccinated."

As far as when those younger than 5 are cleared for Pfizer vaccines, Roberts says it's too early to tell.  

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