INDIANAPOLIS — It’s news many parents have been waiting for. Pfizer said tests show its vaccine is "safe and effective" for kids ages 5 to 11, and children developed antibodies on a level equal to teens and young adults after two shots.
The newly released data comes as schools are in full swing and pediatric cases are soaring.
“As a pediatrician and parent myself, we have been eagerly awaiting news about a vaccine for our younger kiddos,” said Dr. Suzanne Grannan, medical director of pediatrics at Community Health Network.
Grannan said a vaccine for younger age groups could give doctors another tool to fight off the virus and its contagious variants.
Right now, data shows pediatric COVID-19 cases have jumped 240% since July, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“With the start of school, it was pretty chaotic, and the best advice I could offer to parents was get your vaccine for yourselves because that surrounds your kids with vaccinated adults, and have them wear masks indoors, but now they will be able to have their own protection,” said Grannan.
Pfizer’s trial for kids 5 to 11 was different than the trial for adults. To start, the FDA asked for six months of follow-up safety data, instead of the two months needed with adults. It also asked Pfizer to double the number of kids in its trial.
Plus, the dosage was altered since younger children’s immune systems are not the same as adults. Pfizer found a smaller dose was safe and effective.
“Studies have shown for adults that the 30 micrograms dose is appropriate but for smaller children, the 10 microgram dose is the right amount,” said Grannan. “What they were trying to determine is the optimal amount to have the same immune response with the minimal amount of side effects.”
Grannan said some parents are eager to get their child vaccinated while others plan to wait. Either way, she suggests families talk to their doctors if they have concerns or questions.
“By protecting our kiddos, it will keep them in their schools, in sports and in activities and doing all the fun stuff they should be doing as children,” Grannan said.
The hope is to have the vaccine ready for kids by Halloween.
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