Local expert weighs in on emergency use of COVID vaccine for kids

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 11:36 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - FDA advisers give the green light to a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11 as the vaccine nears the finish line for emergency-use authorization.

We’re taking a look at what this could mean for kids here and what the data is showing for kids in that age group.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says more than 43,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in kids between the ages of 5 and 9 since the beginning of the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration expects the vaccine to be available to kids between the ages of 5 and 11 within the next few weeks.

An FDA advisory panel voted Tuesday to allow the Pfizer vaccine for kids under an emergency-use authorization. Tuesday’s vote is the first step in the process of authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for around 28 million children ages 5-11 in the United States.

“Fortunately, these vaccines have showed in each age demographic to be very effective but more importantly they are very safe,” said vaccine expert Dr. Joshua Wyche at Augusta University Health.

In a clinical trial, more than 2000 children received the Pfizer vaccine in two doses. Those doses were a smaller amount than the one given to adults. Health officials say kid-size doses of the Pfizer vaccine are 90.7 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infections.

“I am very pleased with the way the FDA has allowed Pfizer to submit their data on a rolling basis as well as the FDA’s duty to review this data,” he said.

Health experts say the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of COVID.

“Pediatricians are going to play a massive role in getting these vaccines to kids 5 to 11 years old,” he said.

Now before you head to your pediatrician, kids are still not eligible yet. The decision will move to the CDC vaccine advisory group to review the same data then the CDC director must sign off on it to complete the final step in the authorization process. Until then the CDC still wants families to be careful and mask up.

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