Pediatrician: smaller dose and needle expected for kids Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

If the FDA and CDC approve Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, it would make an additional 28 million people eligible for protection against COVID-19.
covid-19 vaccine for kids
covid-19 vaccine for kids(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:41 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As the regulatory process moves forward for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids, White House officials said 400 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered nationwide in just 9 months.

If the FDA and CDC approve Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, it would make an additional 28 million people eligible for protection against COVID-19.

Every week, Children’s Wisconsin gives Action 2 News a snapshot of COVId-19 in the state. Although COVID-19 cases are declining overall, Dr. Michael Gutzeit, Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Wisconsin, said kids are still testing positive and spreading the virus.

“What we’ve seen in kids is 20-21 percent of new cases are in those under 18 years old,” said Dr. Gutzeit.

Wisconsin physicians are also monitoring Pfizer’s vaccine for kids as it makes its way through the channels of authorization. On Tuesday, an FDA advisory committee recommended the use of the vaccine in children, now it heads to the full FDA for approval. If recommended, it heads to the CDC for final approval and guidance.

“CDC data presented at yesterday’s FDA advisory committee showed that among all children 5-11, COVID-19 was one of the top ten deaths causes of death in the United States over the last year,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Since the start of the pandemic, there has been more than 8,300 hospitalizations among children ages 5-11 and there have been 745 deaths in children less than 18 years old.”

Dr. Walensky said the trial data presented at the meeting showed an efficacy rate of nearly 91 percent in preventing COVID-19 in kids that have not been previously infected with the virus.

“So best anticipation is the vaccine might be available sometime next week,” said Dr. Gutzeit.

Pediatrician Dr. Donald Beno with Aurora BayCare Medical Center said his office has already placed a pre-order of the vaccine in anticipation of Emergency Use Authorization. The vaccine will come in different colored packaging with orange caps to keep it separate from adult doses. The dilution of the vaccine will also be different as kids ages 5-11 will get about a third of what adults received during their two-dose regimen.

“It would have been 0.1 mL had they used the adult version, but because that is such a small volume it wouldn’t be reproducibly consistent so that’s why they want to come out with a completely different delusion. The needles are also smaller … so the 5 to 11 year old will have a five-eighths needle so a smaller needle to be used as their muscles aren’t as deep as children who are older and adults,’ said Dr. Beno.

Dr. Beno said the smaller dose may lead to fewer side effects as a kid’s immune system is more robust than adults.

“Children’s bodies react better to vaccines than the older adults do so they can get a smaller dose and still get all the benefits,” said Dr. Beno.

As soon as the FDA gives authorization and the CDC recommends the vaccine, which is expected sometime next week, White House officials said they will ship millions of doses to thousands of locations right away.

In the meantime, doctors said parents should be patient but proactive.

“I do think it would be very helpful for people to call the office or check out the Facebook for their primary care providers or health department to see what is being shared right now. I know at Children’s Wisconsin, our primary care sites are putting out messages to our patients in anticipation of this,” said Gutzeit.

If parents have any questions or concerns about Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine for kids, health care professionals encourage parents to reach out to their provider and ask questions.

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