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AdventHealth pediatric physicians weigh in on approved COVID vaccine for kids ages 5-11

Orange Co. updates on vaccines for this new age group and emergency rental assistance in news conference



The Florida Department of Health is reporting that Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 3.15 percent, as of Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Additional County statistics include:

  • CDC level of community transmission: SUBSTANTIAL
  • Eligible residents (12+) who have one vaccine dose: 76 percent
  • Eligible residents (12+) who have completed their vaccination series: 66 percent
  • Total positive cases for Orange County residents: 233,010
  • Total deaths in Orange County: 2,230

Although the County’s positivity rate continues to trend downwards, Orange County continues to recommend that residents follow CDC health and safety guidelines, including frequent hand washing.


On Tuesday, the CDC provided final approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to children ages 5-11 years old. Parents are encouraged to speak with their pediatrician about whether receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate for their children, as well as if the vaccine is available through their office.

AdventHealth pediatric physicians weigh in

According to AdventHealth physicians, the COVID-19 vaccine is 'extremely safe' for ages 5-11 as it can provide protection against virus mutations and severe illness. 

Pediatric specialists at AdventHealth for Children said on Thursday’s AdventHealth News Briefing that they are encouraging parents to vaccinate their children in this age range as soon as doses become available, 

“There’s 28 million children in the age group of 5 to 11 and none of them should die from a vaccine preventable disease,” said Dr. Michael Keating, chief medical officer of AdventHealth for the Children. “We can beat COVID. These kids need to be vaccinated.”

Keating said the health care system plans to order doses of the vaccine for children as soon as they are available and will provide more information soon about when and where those will be distributed.

The dose for the younger age group is about a third of the size of the adult dose after studies determined the lower dose is “extremely safe” and highly effective for children, he said.

While many children are asymptomatic or show few symptoms when they are infected with COVID-19, the summer Delta surge revealed how vulnerable young kids could be as the virus continues to mutate, said Dr. Fatma Levent, medical director of infectious disease at AdventHealth for Children.

“Kids can get very sick,” she said. “We have had multiple very sick kids with prolonged hospitalization.”

Levent also noted that children should be vaccinated because they can spread the illness to other family members who are potentially more vulnerable.  

Orange County finalizing vaccine roll-out for kids

Orange County's Health Services Department continues to work with the Florida Department of Health to plan its operations to provide vaccines for children ages 5-11 years old. Once details are finalized, Orange County will provide media and residents with the updated information.

Other vaccination option for this age group include:

  • Orange County Public Schools: The Florida Department of Health and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) have partnered together to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old. For more information, visit the OCPS website. 
  • Federal Retail Pharmacies: Parents of children ages 5-11 years old can contact their nearest Federal Retail Pharmacy location to check if vaccines for this age group are being administered. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is a collaboration between the federal government and national pharmacy partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines to residents. 


Residents who are rent stressed or at risk of being evicted may be able to find assistance through the Orange County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

To better assist those in need, the program has updated the total amount it will be able to provide residents seeking rental assistance from $20,000 to $30,000. Additionally, the program will now provide funds for up to 3 months of future rent, instead of 1 month.

This means, the program may help eligible residents pay 12 months of past due rent and 3 month of future rent, up to a total of $30,000. To date, more than $12.3 million have been distributed to keep 2,132 families in their homes – and Orange County has more to provide.

Eligible residents include those living in unincorporated Orange County, Apopka, Bay Lake, Belle Isle, Eatonville, Edgewood, Lake Buena Vista, Maitland, Oakland, Ocoee, Windermere, Winter Garden and Winter Park. The program is not available for those living within the direct city limits of the City of Orlando, which has its own program for its residents.

Residents can visit ocfl.net/RentalAssistance to review program details and to check if their address is eligible.


 The #IGotMyShot Mobile Vaccination Trailer continues to visit convenient community locations across the County. For more information about the #IGotMyShot trailer or a list of upcoming locations visit ocfl.net/IGotMyShot.


Orange County Government’s Health Services Department continues to provide community COVID-19 services at Barnett Park, located at 4801 W Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808.

  • Vaccines: Free, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations are available 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Vaccine availability for initial series of shots, as well as boosters, includes Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. A vaccination record card/form is required for individuals receiving second doses or booster shots. For more vaccine information, visit ocfl.net/vaccine.
  • Testing: Free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Residents interested in receiving a COVID-19 test are recommended to arrive early to Orange County’s free drive-thru testing sites, as sites may close early due to reaching its daily capacity or severe afternoon weather. For more testing information, visit ocfl.net/testing.


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