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Vaccine Approval: How to keep children under 12 safe

Healthbeat

Vaccine Approval: How to keep children under 12 safe

KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We’ve heard President Biden declare the recent surge in covid cases a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” while many people are still refusing the vaccine, there are tens of millions of others, too young to get the shot.

48 million children younger than 12 are ineligible for the covid vaccine. The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging FDA authorization asap for younger kids. But a local pediatrician says it is vital to wait for that authorization and not skirt the rules.

Children 12 and older became eligible in early May to receive the Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Back then, it was hoped FDA authorization would expand to kids even younger in September. September has now arrived and young children still can’t get the shot.

“And so it’s a little bit difficult sometimes when you see you have FDA approval for something but yet can’t give it to smaller children,” explained Dr. Jeffery Kile, Pediatrician, PAK Pediatrics

There’ve been reports of some parents going through back channels to get the vaccine for their children younger than 12. But Dr. Jeffery Kile with PAK Pediatrics says that’s a dangerous decision since the clinical trial process for younger kids is, so far, incomplete.

“And also the vaccine trials that are currently being done are using a different dose schedule than that for adults so it’s a smaller dose than it was for the adult and 12 and above population,” said Dr. Kile.

Both Pfizer and Moderna recently expanded their trial studies in children 5 to 11 years old. Dr. Kile believes making that group vaccine eligible would have a profound impact on the fight against COVID-19 and its variants which are making more children seriously ill.

“We have to remember that most children though aren’t affected to that degree but yet they still can spread it to other people, adults, and elderly and immunocompromised people,” explained Dr. Kile.

With young families left in limbo, for now, parents are urged to have patience and get their kids vaccinated once experts deem a pediatric dose of COVID vaccine safe.

“We want to make sure that when children are getting their vaccines it’s with the least amount of side effects and the most protection and that’s what’s most important,” Dr. Kile said.

Some parents may be tempted to try and get their young child the shot by skirting the rules but PAK Pediatrics Pediatrician Jeffery Kile, MD says that’s not recommended since clinical trials must be thoroughly reviewed by the FDA. 

So the big question is, when might children ages 5 to 11 be cleared to receive the covid vaccine?

The short answer: probably not by the end of this year. The FDA wants 4 to 6 months to follow up on safety data from children’s studies. It is possible vaccine authorization could happen sometime during the winter.

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