COVID-19 vaccines and kids: Local doctors weigh in on Pfizer announcement

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Younger kids could soon be protected against COVID-19.

Pfizer says medical trials have shown its coronavirus vaccine is safe for kids five to 11.

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, nearly 1,000 K through 12 students have had COVID-19 between August 8th and September 11th.

On top of safety, Pfizer says its vaccine is also well-tolerated by elementary-aged kids and shows “robust neutralizing antibody responses.”

Children 12 and older can already receive the Pfizer shots.

When it comes to protecting younger kids from COVID, Sanford Health pediatric infectious disease Dr. Santiago Lopez, says there are few options.

“One, hopefully soon, will be vaccination, but we don’t have yet, and the other one is masking and mitigation strategies,” said Dr. Santiago Lopez, Sanford Health pediatric infectious disease doctor.

An extra layer of protection for more kids could be on its way.

While Lopez points out, the announcement only comes as a press release at this point, it’s a promising step.

“I think it’s excellent news,” Lopez said.

Pfizer says it plans to submit the trial results to regulatory agencies, including the FDA, with urgency.

“I hope everyone just understands that the FDA is going to go through this with a fine-tooth comb and they can be very assured that if the FDA gives approval to this that is has met all of the critical milestones necessary to get approval,” said Dr. Mike Elliott, Avera McKennan chief medical officer and pediatrician.

Avera McKennan Hospital chief medical officer and pediatrician Dr. Mike Elliott says the Pfizer announcement is great news, and getting younger kids vaccinated is a huge step in the COVID-19 fight.

“As we’ve said all along, if you want to keep schools open, if you want to keep businesses open, keep our economy going, our community flourishing like we want it to, then we’ve got to take precautions and try to slow down the spread of this virus,” Elliott said.

While Pfizer plans to submit the data for kids 5 to 11, the study includes children as young as six months.

Trial results in kids five years and younger could come as soon as later this year.

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