Parents, doctors weigh in ahead of CDC committee meeting on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for children 5-11

Coronavirus

A CDC advisory committee is scheduled to meet about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.  

It has already been approved by the FDA, and if the CDC gives their recommendation — it could start going out as soon as this week. 

Pfizer says its dose is more than 90 percent effective against symptomatic disease. Children will still need two shots to be fully protected, just like the shot for adults, but the amount given will be a third of an adult dose. 

Assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice at Butler University Dr. Veronica Vernon says there are safety measures in place to make sure children get the proper dose. She explained they will be color coded and also in smaller vials with shorter needles. 

For parents wondering when their child could get the vaccine, the meetings Tuesday and Wednesday should give us a clearer picture. 

“Because the CDC really determines who should be getting the vaccine. So, will it be all 5-11-year-olds? Will it be those with preexisting conditions? We’ll have to see when the advisory group meets,” said Dr. Vernon. 

Dr. Vernon also says the FDA did discuss the possibility of mandating the vaccine for school aged children. But one advisor said it’s just to early for that mandate. 

That’s something that Andrew Bartolacci would be glad to hear. He is the father of a 5-year-old kindergartner. He says he’s not against the vaccine but doesn’t think every child should get it right away. 

“You know I hope they’re pretty even handed with it, I guess. That they recommend it for those who are at risk, similar to how they did it with the older population or those that have medical issues that are adults,” said Bactolacci. 

Bartolacci says his son is healthy with no preexisting conditions, at a healthy weight and very active, so he is not at risk for severe symptoms, but he knows that’s not the case for everyone. 

“We’ve kind of done everything, haven’t really changed much for him so he’s been. If he had been exposed, he’s been exposed pretty much. Along with school where he’s had to wear a mask. He wears a mask,” said Bactolacci.  

“But for my nephew, he’s 8 and he has like chronic asthma. So like it makes more sense for him to get it because of his lung issues that he has. Whereas for my son, not as much.” 

Vice President of Medical Affairs at Franciscan Health Dr. Christopher Doehring says getting the younger age vaccinated is important to stop the spread of the virus. 

“Making sure that kids don’t inadvertently spread the virus to their susceptible older relatives is incredibly important,” said Dr. Doehring. 

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