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What’s ahead for Pfizer and getting the vaccine approved for kids 5 to 11

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 8:15 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Pfizer announced Monday morning, trials have shown their COVID-19 vaccine to be safe and effective for the next targeted age group, children aged 5 to 11.

Although children have been known to have a lower risk of severe illness with COVID-19, this fall is chalking up to look different. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cases in children are quickly rising across the country and it’s being connected to the delta variant. Meaning for some, this vaccine approval could not come sooner.

“The pediatric population has had the number of COVID-19 in their population increase by about 240% they now make up of about 30% of all new covid-19 cases,” said William Hartman, Principal Investigator for UW’s Moderna COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Trial.

“The kids coming into the hospital are much sicker with covid,” said Dr. Ashok Rai, Prevea Health President and CEO.

As COVID-19 continues to threaten the unvaccinated, including children, Hartman says Pfizer’s latest announcement is promising. Likely, bringing us closer to protecting children aged 5 to 11.

“Even with the reduced dose that has been used in these kids they have a very robust antibody response,” said Hartman.

The pharmaceutical company’s trials involved more than 2,200 children and Pfizer says after giving kids a dose, a third the amount of an adult’s dose, they did develop coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as those who received regular-strength shots with even fewer side effects reported.

“While It’s still possible to have a sore arm or a fever for a short time after the vaccine there are pretty minor side effects and the good obviously outweighs any bad,” said Hartman.

Dr. Rai says it’s exciting news, especially as a parent to children under 12 himself. However, he’s not expecting the process to be complete until November or possibly late October.

“It’s great when a pharmaceutical company says they have the data and what they found that’s very promising but what needs to happen now is a professional review of that data and hopefully we will get some great news out of it,” said Dr. Rai.

Still, some parents say they won’t be ready to roll up their kid’s sleeves.

“We have had this not even a year and there is no long-term study, so I want to see long term study long term effects ... they’re basing it off what we’re seeing now but what’s going to happen down the road,” said Dylan Bloczynski and Micheala Cronk, parents to a four and five-year-old from Black River Falls.

Doctors say the process is safe.

“Most effects of vaccines usually happen within the first day or first week of the vaccine,” said Hartman.

Moderna is trailing behind Pfizer in this process, also studying their vaccine within this age group. In addition, both companies began studying children as young as six months old with those results expected later in the year.

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