Doctors’ Reaction to Announcement That Pfizer Has a Safe Vaccine for Kids
Pfizer announced on Monday that its Covid-19 vaccine is safe for children aged 5 to 11 and that it will seek approval from the relevant authorities to begin using the jab. This is a significant step toward vaccinating children.
The vaccine which Pfizer manufactures alongside its German counterpart BioNTech is already available for persons of 12 years and above. But with kids going back to school and the deadly Covid-19 delta variant causing a massive increase in pediatric infections, many parents are eagerly waiting for jabs for their younger kids.
During the tests, Pfizer used a much lower dose than the amount given to persons of 12 years and above.
They used one-third of what’s currently being given out. Pfizer found out that after giving the kids on trial a second dosage, their bodies developed antibody levels able to defend against the virus, similar to young adults and teenagers.
Pfizer’s Senior Vice President, Dr. Bill Gruber, told the Associated Press (AP) that the kid dosage proved to be safe, and it had similar or less momentary side effects such as fever, body aches, sore arms similar to what teens experience.
Gruber, who is also a Pediatrician quote on quote says, “I think we hit the sweet spot.”
What Have Doctors Around the Country Said So Far?
Representatives of the MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) said that this move by Pfizer is a significant step in getting kids vaccinated, which means that they can remain in school, be safe and stay away from hospitals due to the virus.
Dr. Allison Eckard, a pediatric infectious disease expert at MUSC, said, “There are a lot of positive implications not only for the safety of kids with Covid-19 but it’s also a prolonged capability to keep children in school.”
Dr. Eckard also indicated that hospitals across South Carolina had experienced an exponential rise in the number of kids admitted for Covid-19 since the start of July.
In addition, she said that every single child admitted to MUSC for Covid-19 related complications was unvaccinated.
“Those serious COVID cases and hospital admissions could have been prevented. I’m just relieved that we’re taking this next step forward to safeguard more and more of our children.”
In Columbus, Ohio, health officials are hopeful that a vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years could be released in a matter of weeks because of Pfizer’s statement on Monday.
Columbus Public Health Administrator Dr. Mysheika Roberts indicates, “This is good news; it’s very hopeful. It’s another step towards protecting our children.”
Dr. Roberts continues to say, “We still have got a few steps to get through before this vaccine is available for our kids. If parents choose to have their kids vaccinated, it will keep more of them in class and less of them being quarantined because they’re infected with Covid-19.”
What Has The FDA Said Concerning This Issue?
Earlier this month, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) Chief Dr. Peter Marks told the AP that once Pfizer hands over its research, the administration would examine the data in a matter of weeks to decide if the jabs are safe and effective on children.
The FDA required what it termed as an immune “bridging” research, proof that younger kids developed antibody levels already demonstrated to be effective in teens and adults. Pfizer indicated that it used a sample size of 2,268 kindergarteners for its study.
Marks said, “This sample size isn’t large enough to pinpoint any extreme side effects such as heart inflammation that is sometimes noticed in young adults after the second dose. The pediatric studies should be big enough to rule out any extreme side effects in kids.”
Pfizer reports the study is still ongoing, and there haven’t been enough Covid-19 cases to compare rates between those given the vaccine and those who got a placebo – something that could offer additional insight into this matter.
Pfizer intends to get approval from the FDA for emergency use of the vaccine for kids, and later the company plans to get approval from European and British authorities. Once the jab is approved, Pfizer will monitor vaccinated kids for rare side effects just like everyone else.