FDA recommends Pfizer vaccine for children

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Thousands of children in our region could soon be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Tuesday night an FDA advisory committee has recommended the authorization of a lower dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

The full FDA is expected to weigh in sometime this week followed by the CDC next week. If they both accept the endorsement, kids could start getting shots late next week.

We stopped by Heights-Murray Elementary School to see how kids felt about the new recommendation. The students we spoke with say they don’t know enough t about the vaccine to feel confident getting it.

“I’m a little scared because some vaccines have the viruses in them, so I’m kind of scared to get vaccinated,” said eight-year-old, Isabella Williams.

“I think it would be good to have everyone vaccinated, but I also hope it is safe for everyone so no kids die for anything or get symptoms. It’s new. I just want everyone to be safe so I’m a little nervous,” explained 11-year-old, Gabriella Shybloski.

Pfizer says its Pediatric Covid Vaccine contains just a third of the amount given to adults and teenagers. But, offers similar protection against the virus. Medical experts say protecting this age group is a critical step in getting the pandemic under control.

Something second-grade teacher Peggy McGrath is in favor of.

“You still have the big fear and COVID is real and I understand that, but kids need this,” McGrath said. They need education, socialization, they need to be with other kids their age.”

McGrath says remote learning doesn’t meet the needs of many students.

“Trying to listen to me for two, four, six hours on a screen, you miss those personal things. Kids need the hugs, they need to be kids.

Pfizer says its pediatric COVID vaccine contains just a third of the amount given to adults and teenagers but offers similar protection against the virus.

Medical experts say protecting the younger age group is a critical step in getting the pandemic under control.

Panel members like Amanda Cohn say this was a difficult decision, but in the end, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

“So I think I agree with what everyone else is saying here. We’re in a, very difficult decision-making process, but it is pretty clear to me that the benefits do weigh the risk when I hear about children who are being put in the ICU who are having long-term outcomes after their covid and children are dying and as dr. Marks just said we vaccinate routinely against federal vaccine-preventable diseases for which far fewer deaths and hospitalizations in ICU admissions occur.”

The Biden administration says it plans to distribute the doses as soon as it’s authorized by the FDA and CDC.
They plan to distribute the vaccine in smaller doses and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer to kids.

Schools in our area are already preparing vaccine clinics and reaching out to parents in anticipation of CDC approval.

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