Arizona says it’s ready to get the COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 5-11

State health officials say Arizona is ready to provide the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 5 to 11 — an age group that may be eligible to receive the vaccine within the next few weeks.

The Arizona Department of Health Services and local county health departments “have worked extensively to ensure capacity in Arizona for pediatric COVID-19 vaccination,” interim state Health Director Don Herrington wrote in a blog post this week.

That work has included recruiting additional pediatric providers to be vaccinators and working with schools and local health providers to identify “easily accessible locations” for vaccinations, and developing communication materials for health care providers and the public, Herrington wrote.

Various Arizona public health advocates have been putting pressure on the state Health Department in recent weeks about a plan for vaccinating kids ages 5 to 11. A coalition called Right 2 Safe Schools Arizona is crowdsourcing COVID-19 vaccine resources with a goal of removing barriers that some families may have in finding places for their younger children to get the vaccine.