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FirstEnergy first to abandon interim clean-energy goals for addressing climate change; the body of an 11-year-old Texas girl who disappeared on her way to school has been found in a river; and Indiana youth reported to be making progress despite challenges.

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The U.S. rejects a U.N. resolution on Israel-Gaza ceasefire, but proposes a different one. Some Democrats vote against Biden to protest his policy on Gaza and a California woman is being held in Russia.

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Drones over West Texas aim to improve rural healthcare, the Ogallala Aquifer, the backbone of High Plains agriculture, is slowly disappearing and federal money is headed to growers of wool and cotton.

ND Lays Groundwork for Kids' COVID Vaccine Rollout

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Friday, October 29, 2021   

BISMARCK, N.D. -- The North Dakota Department of Health said, pending final federal approval, COVID-19 vaccinations for kids ages five to 11 could be available in less than two weeks.

Local pediatricians hope parents come to them with questions, and most believe the extra protection will be helpful. State officials say providers will be training their staff if the vaccine clears final hurdles in the coming days, with Nov. 8 a likely starting point.

Joan Connell, a pediatrician at the University of North Dakota Center For Family Medicine, said signing children up for their shot likely prevents major disruptions to their daily life.

"That keep them from school, that keep them from their athletic events, and certainly that put them at risk for hospitalization," Connell outlined.

She added it prevents the spread of the virus in schools, while protecting vulnerable populations at home and in the community.

Several months after vaccinations first became available, North Dakota began seeing lagging rates for other age groups. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found only one-third of parents for kids in this age group would schedule an appointment right away.

For parents worried about side effects, such as heart inflammation, the medical community said those cases are rare and mild, while a COVID infection could pose long-term health issues.

Connell pointed out vaccines for all age groups have undergone rigorous testing.

"The COVID vaccine has been administered in millions of people and is a very safe vaccine," Connell advised.

The state has ordered 18,000 pediatric Pfizer COVID doses from the federal government. It will be sent out to providers based on their estimated population for this age group, and vaccine coverage rates in their adolescent population.


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