Your questions about kids and the COVID-19 vaccine answered

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INDIANAPOLIS — The CDC has approved kid-size doses of Pfizer’s shots for 5- to 11-year-olds.

Final clearance for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine came Tuesday, making some 28 million kids around the country eligible for the two-dose shot.

Indiana officials expect the state to receive enough supply this week to vaccinate one-third of children ages 5 to 11.

CBS4 gave viewers the opportunity to ask a doctor questions about the vaccine.

Anchor and Investigative Reporter Angela Brauer spoke with Dr. Veronica Vernon, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Butler University, in a live Q&A Wednesday morning.

Below are highlights from the Q&A. Some of the answers have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

For the complete answers to all the viewer-submitted questions, watch the video above.

Angela Brauer: I’m also a mother of two small children. I understand why parents are asking, “Am I making the right decision?’ No matter what that decision is. … Let’s go ahead and start with some of the logistics. How will this pediatric shot differ from the dose adults received?

Dr. Veronica Vernon: The CDC says one-third of the adult dose for the 5-11 age group. This is going to be a 10 microgram dose. Those 12 and older getting the Pfizer vaccine get 30 micrograms. It’s still a two-dose series, given three weeks apart, so that has stayed the same but the vials look a little different. The vials are much smaller for children and they’re orange. That’s an important safety factor for those administering the vaccine to make sure they’re grabbing an orange vial, where adult doses are purple. Parents or guardians taking your kids, make sure they’re getting the orange cap.

Brauer: We’ve gotten a lot of questions specifically about the trial size. Pfizer’s clinical trial included about 2,200 individuals. From my understanding there are 1,500 that received the vaccine versus the 700 who received a placebo. How do you feel about that sample size? It seems small.

Vernon: Yeah, that’s something that definitely crossed my mind as a parent. The adult trials had a lot more people, but I think it’s important to know when I put my health care provider and public health expert hat on, child trials are always smaller. There are a lot more regulations when it comes to testing vaccines and medications for children, so the sample size might be smaller but there’s also a smaller percent of the population that meets the requirements for this vaccine.

Brauer: What did they find? Were there any major side effects we need to know about as parents?

Vernon: This vaccine was 91.7% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections and the risk of serious adverse events was very, very low. There were three serious adverse events that were seen in the trial and actually none of them were due to the vaccine. One of the serious adverse events reported was a child swallowed a penny. That has nothing to do with the child getting the vaccine, but that just shows how much data and analysis is going into the development of this vaccine.

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