Children-sized doses Pfizer’s COVID-19According to Friday’s study, vaccines are safe and almost 91% effective in preventing symptoms from developing in children aged 5 to 11. This is despite the fact that vaccinations for this age group may be opened by the United States.
The shots might begin in November with all children fully protected until Christmas if the regulators allow it. That would represent a major expansion of the nation’s vaccine drive, encompassing roughly 28 million elementary school-age youngsters.
Details of Pfizer’s study were posted online. The Food and Drug Administration was expected to post its own review of the company’s safety and effectiveness data later in the day.
Next week, FDA advisors will debate publicly the evidence. The final decision about who will receive the shots is made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if the agency authorizes them.
Pfizer full-strength shots are already approved for those 12 and older. However, many parents and pediatricians are eagerly waiting for protection for their children as they face rising infection rates and high-risk hospitalizations from the more contagious Delta variant.
The Biden administration has purchased enough kid-size doses — in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from adult vaccine — for the nation’s 5- to 11-year-olds. Once the vaccine passes approval, the millions of doses and kid-size needles will quickly be sent around the country.
Over 25,000 primary care and pediatricians have already signed up for the vaccines.
Pfizer studied 2,268 children aged 5-11 who received two doses of the placebo and the low-dose vaccine three weeks apart. One-third of the doses were given to adolescents and adults.
The low-dose vaccine is nearly 91% effective according to researchers. This was based upon 16 COVID-19 case reports in young children given dummy shots and three from vaccinated kids. None of the children suffered from severe illness, however the vaccines produced milder symptoms in the unvaccinated.
The majority of study data was collected during the August/September period in the U.S., when the Delta variant became the predominant COVID-19 strain.
The low-dose shot also showed coronavirus fighting antibodies in young children. This was comparable to the levels seen in teenagers and young adults receiving regular strength vaccinations.
The CDC also reported this week encouraging news that Pfizer vaccinations prevented hospitalizations in 12–18-year-olds despite the rise of the delta variant.
Pfizer’s study of younger children found the low-dose shots proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects such as sore arms, fever or achiness that teens experience.
The study isn’t large enough to detect any extremely rare side effects, such as the heart inflammation that occasionally occurs after the second dose, mostly in young men.
The CDC reports that COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 630 Americans aged 18 and younger, despite children being at lower risk of serious illness or death. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that nearly 6.2 million children were infected by the coronavirus. This is more than the 1.1 million who contracted it in six weeks, as the number of cases of the delta virus exploded.
Moderna is also studying COVID-19 shots with elementary-school-age children. Moderna and Pfizer are also studying children younger than 6 months. The results are expected to be released later in the year.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. All content is the sole responsibility of the Associated Press.