COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 5-12: What you need to know

Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Pfizer is hoping to have a lower dose of its COVID-19 vaccine approved and ready for kids ages 5 to 11 some time in the next month. That means parents in KELOLAND will have a decision to make: They must determine if the vaccine is safe enough for their kids.

Pfizer submitted research to the FDA in support of giving its COVID-19 vaccine to children. It tested a lower-dose version of the vaccine in kids between the ages of 5 and 11. Pfizer says the immune response was as strong as for teenagers who received a standard dose. The drug maker says it will ask for an emergency use authorization in the coming weeks.

“As a mom, not just a pediatrician, but as a mom, I’m excited for this.”

Some parents will move ahead quickly to get their kids protected. But a Kaiser Family Foundation study says 4 out of 10 parents say they will wait and see what happens.

Sanford’s Chief physician says there is nothing wrong with being cautious.

“First off I applaud them for wanting to wait and see. I think it is important to prove the safety of this vaccine, the other thing I would say is the government knew that and did exactly what we would have asked them to do if we were waiting to see if it was safe, and that is, they doubled the number of kids in the trial,” said Cauwels.

Instead of 30,000 test subjects, Cauwels says they included 60,000. Information on the Pfizer website says the Pfizer vaccine was well tolerated, with side effects generally comparable to those observed in participants 16 to 25 years of age.

The need for a vaccine for young people is bordering on urgent. New COVID-19 cases in children have jumped by more than 150 percent in the last month. For Dr. Cauwels, when he looks at the science, he believes Pfizer and the FDA are doing what it takes to build confidence in the vaccine for kids.

“They had the largest trial for a vaccine that’s been done in kids and could prove its safety,” said Cauwels.

A study on vaccine use in those under the age of 5 is currently underway. Pfizer expects to release the results of those trials before the end of this year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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