By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City has continued to see its key COVID-19 metrics trend down, and it’s ready to start vaccinating some of its youngest residents to maintain that momentum.

The city is averaging 71 COVID-19 cases per day as of Thursday morning, a decrease of 15% from two weeks ago, according to City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. The city’s average positivity is 1.5%, a decrease of 20% from two weeks ago.

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U.S. health officials on Tuesday gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign. In Maryland, over half a million kids aged 5-11 became eligible to get vaccinated.

The Baltimore City Health Department and Baltimore City Public Schools will collaborate on vaccine clinics for children ages 5 to 11 at sites across the city, starting on the week of Nov. 8.

“With school in full swing, and the upcoming holidays, now is the time for children to get the COVID vaccine,” Mayor Brandon Scott said.  “It will also of course, allow us to have our students stay in school which we know is a critical thing.”

City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said the city has already vaccinated 20,000 adolescents, and it is ready to pick up vaccination efforts to get the city’s youngest immunized.

Vaccines will be given out in schools, at mobile clinics and through the city’s home bound program where someone will go to residences for people who are unable to make it outside of the home. The city’s health commissioner said children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and pediatricians will play a key role in the process.

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“We also will be transferring allocations to pediatricians,” Dr. Dzirasa said. “We know that this age group and particular and even younger ones, parents want to talk with an ask questions of their pediatricians, so pediatricians are extremely important in getting this group vaccinated as well.”

Along with school-based clinics and mobile vaccination clinics, the city is offering pediatric vaccinations through the homebound vaccination program for children or their caregivers who are mobility-limited.

A list of locations will be posted on coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov and city-affiliated social media accounts. Residents can also find a clinic by calling the COVID Call Center at 443-984-8650.

Graham Cowger of Baltimore County has three children. He says he’s pleased the entire family is a step closer to being vaccinated.

“They’ve been going to school now for a few months already without being vaccinated, so it’s just peace of mind to know that they are more protected against COVID,” said Graham.

Christina Murphy, a Baltimore mom said she got the vaccine while she was pregnant with her youngest child, so he may have some immunity. She’s now waiting for the opportunity to vaccinate her two-year-old daughter.

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“The only family member who is really not vaccinated or anything, not have any contact is Uma, so I’m also looking forward for lowering the age of vaccination to two years old,” says Murphy.

Ava-joye Burnett