INDIANAPOLIS — Anxious parents eager for the approval of the Pfizer vaccine are a step closer to vaccinating their young children.
Now that the key Food and Drug Administration advisory committee has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, health care professionals may soon roll out the vaccine. James Wood, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Riley Hospital for Children, said they’re ready.
“Getting these kids vaccinated is going to go a long way of getting this under control and back to a somewhat normal way of life,” said Wood.
The vaccine for children consists of two shots of a lower dose.
“They found that the smaller dose was just as effective in kids,” said Wood.
Wood understands some parents’ hesitancy to vaccinate their child right away, but he said studies have shown the Pfizer vaccine is nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection.
He wants parents to think about risk versus benefit.
“The number of hospitalizations in kids is not small. Though some of those kids have pre-existing conditions, many of them didn’t. It’s really hard to predict who is going to get severe disease,” said Wood.
That’s one reason why Rebecca Jade is choosing to vaccinate her 9-year-old when the vaccine is approved.
“I’m a parent, I want to protect my child. He is fully immunized against all the other things he can be immunized for, so it kind of makes sense with this one. Especially because we don’t know what the long-term effects of COVID will be,” said Jade.
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Even though children are at a lower risk of suffering severe COVID symptoms, they play a big part in spreading the virus.
“Evidence is showing with kids, especially with the delta wave, they are able to spread it to other members of the family who may be high risk for the disease,” said Wood.
While Jade is excited about the possibility of getting her child the vaccine, she is still proceeding with caution.
“I don’t think it will make us drop our guard completely, as there is still community spread. We will err on the side of caution, but it will at least be a layer of protection,” said Jade.
Next week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have to decide whether to recommend the shots and which youngsters should get them.