Vermont officials say some 6,000 does of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 arrived Tuesday, and the first doses could be administered as early as Thursday.

“It’s another big step forward and could be the key to accelerating our transition from pandemic to endemic,” Gov. Phil Scott said.

Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said there are 44,000 children ages 5 to 11 in the Green Mountain State. Recent data shows that age group has consistently tested positive for the virus at a higher rate than other ages.

At a briefing Tuesday after a CDC advisory panel approved the vaccine for younger children, UVM pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Bell said kids will get 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. She added that side effects are likely to be less serious than they were for some adults.

“Many of us after our second dose of the vaccine had systemic effects the next day, fever chills, headache,” Dr. Bell said. “Children 5-11 reported those symptoms at a much lower rate. They reported them to be mild and they all went away within a day or two.”

The state plans to set up nearly 100 vaccine clinics at schools across Vermont in that have fewer pharmacies or where families struggle with transportation, said

“Our goal is to get as many doses into students arms before the holiday break at the end of December,” Smith said. “That’s first and second dose.”